A lot of my clients come to me after years of working in the medical establishment, only to still not have answers about what is wrong with them. They can sense that things are not right and lets face it, they feel horrible. Yet the medical establishment will often either insinuate that the person has mental illness and it's "all in their head", or they will say things like, "huh, I haven't ever seen/heard of that before!" This typically leaves one really confused and they start to seek answers in a different light. This is probably why clients respond so well to my holistic approach.
I know what it is like to do test after test, yet not have any definitive answers except perhaps the ruling out of more extreme diagnosis. I've been there myself and recently just went through it again with our 17 year old Jack Russell Terrier (what is that? Like, 107 human years?!).
I had just spent the night being woken every 1-2 hours because the poor dog had to go outside. Her stool consistency degraded throughout the night and by morning I was alarmed at exactly how non-normal this was! This "puppy" was really sick, and it showed with worsening of symptoms. So of course, I immediately assumed the worst! I donned my Anxiety Girl superhero costume and Googled her symptoms just to reinforce my drastic assumptions. (Dr. Google does this to me on occasion!)
We spent the day at the emergency vet getting blood work done, and then drove 20 miles to a specialist to get ultrasounds and even more blood work done. All told, we spent 14 hours at various emergency facilities and everyone was very tired.
And the diagnosis? We have no answers as to what is causing her all this distress. The diagnosis was IBD or Irritable Bowel Disease - which in my line of work is just fancy words to describe the symptoms she's experiencing! It's sort of like saying, "We don't really know what is causing it, so we'll tell you fancy words to make it sound like we do." The tests only ruled out any massive tumors (for which I am grateful)! So in a sense, the modern medical establishment (in this case veterinary) did tell me it was not life threatening. That is what they are trained in - so bless them for that!
But despite the benefit of doing investigative testing, which is a large majority of the work that I do, we have no "smoking gun" and we are still faced with a sick pup!
So we had to make some assumptions and then focus on the basics. Basics of which are fabulous guidelines in any healing protocol, animal or human. So here is the list that I have used time and time again with myself, my clients and my pup!
5 Simple Healing Basics
- Rest & Sleep - This one is pretty obvious, but when we are dealing with chronic issues, sometimes it feels like we can get *something* accomplished and we should just push on through. But really it's your body screaming that it needs the rest. So if you can, give yourself the permission to sleep as much as your body wants.
- Fluids & Nourishment - When we aren't feeling all that great, its hard to remember to stay hydrated. And if we are heeding to the first item, then our waking hours are limited. So when you are awake, make sure to drink some lemon water with sea salt or bone broth to stay hydrated. Try to stay away from caffeinated or sweetened drinks. And for foods, try to find the most nutrient dense, real foods. You can never go wrong feeding your body high quality, real food!
- Focus on Gut Health - A large majority of our immune system cells are contained in the epithelial lining of the gut, so if we can boost our gut health, we can maintain or promote a healthy immune system. I focus on avoiding tight, junction damaging foods (like gluten) and always recommend a really good probiotic for regular use. Currently my favorite is MegaSpore Biotic which I use with everyone in my family, including our pup!
- Avoid Sugar - I probably don't need to remind most of you about this, but processed and refined sugars can bind to an essential amino acid called L-lysine, especially when heated (ie: cooked foods). L-lysine is hugely beneficial in combating viral outbreaks, so if what you are dealing with is a viral co-infection (common in autoimmunity), then you will want to avoid sugar as much as you can.
- Counterbalance Stress - Speaking of L-lysine, stress also depletes it. Stress also has other deleterious effects including not allowing the nervous system to focus on healing. It stimulates the "Fight or Flight", or sympathetic nervous system. What we want is the "Rest and Digest", or parasympathetic nervous system, to contribute to healing. So do what you can to stimulate this: massage, gentle yoga, acupuncture, meditation or any form of mindfulness, sauna, walking in nature, etc.
In the end, even if we don't have "smoking gun" answers as to what might be causing illness, we can still take action to further our healing. Our bodies are amazing biological machines and can heal some of the worst of conditions on their own given a little bit of support.
Update with the pup: she's slowly getting better, and with being 17, the healing is slower than in years past. So we will continue with the basics and see how she improves.
What are your go-to healing tips? Have you employed any of these in spite of having no "smoking gun" answers? Would love to hear if you have additional tips!