Living with Chronic Illness
A Naturopathic Approach to Chronic Illness
Chronic illness is defined as a condition or illness that is both persistent and long-lasting (six months or longer), although many people live and cope with their illness for much longer.
By definition, it cannot be cured, however sometimes can be managed or treated. Although these conditions may seem to manifest quickly, it normally takes years of imbalance inside before health issues come to the surface.
The body is constantly striving for homeostasis, however, just like with plants, if they are not given the right environment, soil and conditions to thrive and achieve homeostasis, breakdown and imbalance happen and then illness prevails.
The Toxic Bucket Theory of Health & Disease
Is your bucket overflowing?
In a healthy person, the natural detox pathways are open to remove waste, clear toxins and prevent disease. Your ‘toxic bucket’ is being emptied quickly and regularly. Minimal toxins are stored in the body.
When we overload these drainage pathways with toxic foods, unhealthy lifestyle habits and plastics and pesticides, toxins are stored in the body’s organs and tissues. As time goes on, these pathways are unable to work efficiently and effectively. As toxins increase in the body, your ‘toxic bucket’ fills up, the toxic burden builds and at some point it hits a critical threshold.
At this point, the immune system becomes dysfunctional and either over responds and produces too much inflammation or it under responds and is unable to eliminate pathogens and damaged cells effectively. Pathogens or infections are able to thrive in this scenario.
What fills up your bucket?
- Lack of sleep
- Chronic high stress
- Water (that tap water you’re drinking contains a lot of chemicals and toxins that can disrupt your homeostasis)
- Frequent use of antibiotics, NSAIDs etc
- Alcohol or smoking
- Beauty care products
- Cleaning products
- Heavy Metals
- Processed foods, ready-made foods
- Seed oils
- Living in mould
- Air pollution
- Dental infections or amalgam fillings
- Sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise
- Lack of sunlight
- Toxic emotions, traumatic events not dealt with
What causes Chronic Illness?
Environmental toxins, a sedentary lifestyle, too many processed foods, pathogens + others. All of the practices, pathogens, infections and toxins above are part of the root cause of whatever health condition you’re suffering from. Rarely, is it as simple as identifying THE ONE that is causing your symptoms. Most often, it’s a combination of a few or many.
The good news is that many of these risk factors for chronic illness are in your control. And many of them are low cost or even free. Ensuring you get fresh air every day, exercise like a walk outside in nature and turning off your phone and wifi at home are completely in your control and are free.
What’s the key to Healing and Preventing Chronic Illness?
It’s important to establish healthy habits that maintain open drainage pathways and to cleanse the body regularly. It can take some time to backtrack from years of ill-health, but once you do, it’s about maintaining good health.
A Naturopathic Approach to Chronic Illness
My approach is science-based, simple and practical. Your chronic illness didn’t happen overnight. The healing process is like peeling the layers of an onion – one layer after another. It takes times and commitment, but you are always going to be in a better place than had you not started.
In the initial consultation, I take a detailed case history and timeline of your symptoms, and discuss other systems in the body along with current diet, sleep, stress and lifestyle habits. I often recommend functional nutrition testing. Together, this gives us a starting point. I often recommend an organic acids test at a minimum. Depending on symptoms, I may also suggest a mycotoxins or environmental toxin profile or other test to determine whether there’s an underlying infection or pathogen driving symptoms.
From there, I will give suggestions for diet and lifestyle changes. The basics of diet, drinking water, sleep, movement/exercise and breathing must be addressed. If there are underlying trauma or emotions contributing to your health (you’ll know it 9 times out of 10 anyway), I will recommend these are worked through with appropriate therapists / counsellors.
Herbal or neutriceutical supplements will be suggested as well, and updated as you progress. In the end, it is up to you to make the commitment to change and work on yourself.
If you are motivated, ready and will to make a transformational change, then send me a message. I’d love to make a plan with you!
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