True Medicine

by Denise Morden, Byron Bay

Recently I had to spend some time in hospital and it was an amazing experience, because it was the closest I had come to experiencing true and integrated medicine.

My doctor is extraordinary. He is also a healer, who combines medicine with psychological and physical care by treating the whole body. I have never had a physician like this before; he is always accessible and I know he is there for me, in my corner.

This is an extraordinary relationship: a partnership, there is no “them and us.”

His care is for the whole body and the person; I am not just a ‘patient’. I am met, connected to, and he sees who I am. I am not a victim of the disease or the medical system, because I am pro-active in my treatment and care, a co–creator in my own healing. I am fully responsible for the choices I make. I have great trust in him even when he is honest enough to say he is not sure what to do next. I know that his humility and his ability to accept and surrender will allow him to KNOW what the next step is when it comes to that. His skill and care also extend to before, during and after any procedure.

Continue reading “True Medicine”

Fungal infections and food

by Carmel Reid, Somerset, UK

We can suffer from a number of different fungal infections in our bodies and two that are prevalent are ‘Thrush’ and ‘Athlete’s Foot’.

Many women experience occasional bouts of a common yeast infection known as vaginal thrush, caused by Candida albicans yeast (a single-cell fungus).

It causes itching, irritation and swelling of the vagina and surrounding area, sometimes with a creamy white cottage cheese-like discharge.

Vaginal thrush is fairly harmless, but it can be uncomfortable. It can also keep returning – this is known as recurrent (or complicated) thrush.(1)

We can buy creams over the counter at a pharmacist that help to suppress the symptoms, but my question is: Does it get rid of the underlying cause?

You can also get oral thrush: oral thrush is a yeast infection in the mouth. Symptoms of oral thrush include sore, white patches in the mouth, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, a burning sensation affecting the tongue and problems swallowing. Oral thrush can affect people of all ages, including adults with weakened immune systems.

Candida albicans is one of the ‘normal’ flora that live in our gut, but becomes a pathogen if there is a disruption in the balance of microorganisms in your gut. This balance of ‘gut flora’ is a crucial part of your immune system and digestive health, but it can easily be lost during periods of stress or after a course of antibiotics. When this balance is lost, the colonies of Candida albicans are able to expand rapidly until they involve a large portion of your gut, overwhelming the other flora and causing disease.(2) Continue reading “Fungal infections and food”

How we hurt ourselves with reaction

by Dianne Trussell, BSc Hons, Australia

The science of psycho-neuro-immunology has been showing us a lot about ourselves – that we already know from our own bodies and life experience – but often pretend we don’t.

The nervous system (which includes the brain), the immune system and the hormone system all talk to each other, and take their cues from each other about how to ‘behave’, how to respond.

Stress releases hormones that affect our brain and immune system. Stress alters how many of what kind of immune cells are made, and imbalances lead to illness. Stress suppresses our immune system’s killer cells – we are therefore more susceptible to cancer and other diseases. Stress also tires out the systems that produce the hormones – like the adrenals – leading to exhaustion.

Three important regions of the brain are affected by stress hormones, and those brain regions are important for memory, learning, dealing with life, thinking, making sense of the world, fear, emotion, fight and flight…. so it’s definitely not a good thing for them to be continually stressed! Continue reading “How we hurt ourselves with reaction”

Two Doctors and a Patient

by Jennifer Smith, RN, Australia 

Today at work I witnessed something very beautiful, although it was something very ordinary. I watched two of my colleagues – two doctors – have a conversation about a patient.

Nothing unusual about this, given that we were all in a hospital. What was beautiful was the way they were with each other and then the patient.

This particular patient had only very recently received a very serious medical diagnosis. There had been a lot of medical assessments, tests and treatments in the previous 48 hours. All of which is often very overwhelming for anyone in this situation.

As I went about my work, organising patients for my day, I saw these two doctors standing together, talking to each other, and one was handing the care of the patient over to the other doctor as they were changing shifts. The thing that stood out the most was how genuinely caring they were, especially in the way they spoke of the person. They were considering everything about this person and their family.

Together they then spoke with the patient in a very ordinary fashion, very professional, but also connected to this patient as another human being.

You may be asking, so what’s so special about this, surely it happens every day?
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Expectations and Illness

by Leigh Matson, London, UK

Recently I have been looking at my expectations, about myself, others, life and situations and what I have been finding is that these expectations directly have an impact on my health.

One such example is that I called work today to say I would not be in due to a viral illness and while I was on hold waiting to speak to my manager, all sorts of thoughts came flooding in. Expectations of ‘I need to be apologetic,’ ‘I need to show that I will be back into work tomorrow, no wasting time ‘being ill,’’ ‘I can’t be ill because work won’t be able to manage without me’ etc. As well as the judgments of ‘you should feel bad because now you’ve placed more work on people’ …you get the idea. All in the space of being on hold on the phone, and in my body my heart was racing at a thousand miles an hour. This made me feel even more drained and worse than I did before.

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