By Cierra Bloom, ATC, LAT, MS, CES
In today’s society, it is typical to go to the doctor after a problem has already developed. Based on the issue, the doctor usually prescribes a medicine to treat the symptom and we are sent on our way. But what if we could prevent these problems in the first place? Taking care of our bodies with functional and integrative approaches will allow us to look, feel, and live better; and prevent and protect our bodies from a lot of issues from ever occurring.
We need more health professionals who are willing to look at the body as a whole, functional unit, and support a holistic view on health. For example, in the case of muscles, all soft tissue is connected through layers of fascia called myofascial slings. A problem in the knee or shoulder can very well lead to pain in the back. Go even deeper with this concept, and it is easy to see how physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually connected we are. Social, spiritual, or mental stress can manifest as symptoms such as chronic pain or insomnia and vice versa. It’s easy to look at someone with back pain, not knowing the cause of it, and inject them with a steroid. In the case of anxiety and depression, most physicians are quick to prescribe an anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication. This is a western or “reductionist” approach to health. However, in Eastern medicine, the patient would more than likely be prescribed meditation, acupuncture, or methods for enhancing their diet or exercise routine to combat these physical and mental symptoms.
Historically, Eastern medicine is typically very holistic in nature. Even in the west, the Native Americans believe that healing comes from being in harmony with the Earth. Although these concepts have been lost in modern medicine, I think it is time to go back to these natural ways of viewing our health. Between heart disease due to lack of exercise and fast food diets, lung conditions from smoke and pollution, and cancer from many different causes - These can often be prevented by making lifestyle changes. The way humans have evolved, we have lost touch with ourselves and with nature and the important connection the two have with each other, by being caught up in the bustle of life as we know it.
How can we implement these historical philosophies into our modern day wellness? Between the pandemic, rioting, and pollution, our Earth and country are being destroyed through unrest, unwellness, and uncertainty. Our bodies are becoming weakened from the resulting stress of the virus, the quarantine, and from civil turmoil. From essential oils and flower essences, to herbal medicine and raw organic diets, there are many ways to become more harmonized with the Earth’s energy. Then there are things like mindfulness training, breathwork, and exploring nature that connects us to ourselves.
Check out Part 2 for ways in which to connect to yourself and to the Earth!