Your overall health and wellness depends on you. The food you eat, your spirituality, relationships with others, exercise routine, community involvement, sleep patterns, the love you give and receive-it all plays a role. However, you alone cannot achieve your optimal levels without a health “team”. What do I mean by this? All of us need to surround ourselves with a team of professionals-think MD’s, alternative practitioners, friends with positive energy, fitness trainer or group, spiritual outlet and health coach. There are many more options. I’d like to introduce you to what some of our modern age health gurus do and which ones may need to be part of your team.
Medical Doctor(MD’s)– We all know who these team members are. Our internists, pediatricians, specialists, surgeons, obgyn’s, etc. I like knowing that my MD is open-minded to a holistic, or Eastern, healing option as well as traditional Western approaches. There are very clear times that Western medicine, such as antibiotics and chemotherapy, are absolutely necessary, but knowing that my doctor is open-minded and educated in holistic healing is important to me as well.
Naturopathic Doctor (ND’s)– These are primary care physicians who incorporate a philosophy that nature is the most effective healer. They attended a four-year naturopathic medical school, are clinically trained, and work in pediatric to geriatric care. What I like most about working with an ND is that they are looking for the root cause based on symptoms, and not just looking to place a bandaid on my discomfort.
Doctor of Oriental Medicine (D.O.M.) – Oriental medicine is another holistic approach to health care that uses acupuncture and herbal medicine/supplements. It focuses on individualized treatment and, again, on locating the root cause of the illness, not their symptoms, that must be treated.
Health Coach, Dietician (R.D.), Nutritionist – Each one of these professionals have been educated and trained to help people achieve their dietary health goals starting with food, but not limited to food.
All three options above will have a relationship with a blood work lab. It’s very important to start out with knowing what’s going on inside your body before changing any health practices in your life. I always get asked the following questions:
What do you eat?
What supplements do you take?
How can I lose weight?
How do you balance your hormones?
I always answer to go and have comprehensive blood work analysis done to see what your baseline is first because we are all different. Each one of us has a different microbiome (or inner ecosystem) that we are living with.
Chiropractors – A chiropractor is a health care professional focused on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders, with an emphasis on treatment through manual adjustment and/or manipulation of the spine. They do look at the whole body/lifestyle to help prevent further injuries and how to reduce inflammation through food and alternative therapies and supplements.
Fitness Coach or group exercise classes – We all need to exercise. Some of us are self-motivated, some of us need that group environment. If you have never lifted weights before, it’s a great idea to start with a professional trainer so you don’t get hurt. If you’re joining a group class such as spinning, yoga, TRX, etc. go ahead and tell the teacher you are new and if you have any injuries that require modifications. Be your own advocate.
Spirituality/love – Just as important as the food you take in your body, learning to love yourself and being able to love those around you and receive love play a huge part in your overall joy. This takes work, daily practice. Start with a book, a blog, a new community outlet. Surround yourself with positive energy as much as possible and give back.
Here’s my personal top 10 books that have helped me on my own journey to health and wellness:
- Tools of Titans, Timothy Ferriss
- The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman
- The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz
- Wheat Belly, William Davis MD
- Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig
- Eat Fat, Get Thin, Mark Hymen, MD
- Fast Food, Good Food, Andrew Weil MD
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson
- Be Here Now, Ram Dass
- Clean Gut, Alejandro Junger MD
It’s the journey.