by Gill Randall, Physiotherapist Grad Dip Phys, Banbury, UK
A few years ago, the local gym I attended did a simple heel prick test and I was diagnosed with osteopenia, the precursor for osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a condition that affects bone density and strength, so the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue. In osteopenia, the protein and mineral content of bone tissue is reduced, but less severely than in osteoporosis.
Bone is alive and constantly changing. A healthy diet and lifestyle from an early age help us to maximize bone strength by ‘banking’ bone when we are young. A poor diet as children, eating disorders, and erratic diets can all affect the laying down of healthy bone. And as we age, particularly after menopause in women, there is a tendency to bone loss. Osteoporosis can tend to run in families, but whether this is due to dietary and lifestyle factors or ‘genetic’ tendencies is open to question.
I was surprised at my diagnosis, as I had had a healthy diet as a child. I did a bit of yo-yo dieting through my teenage years, but I’ve had a tendency to be overweight, not underweight, and have always been relatively active. Upon diagnosis I was prescribed calcium tablets with Vitamin D and told to do more weight bearing exercise, so I did some line dancing and an exercise class in the gym. I do have a family connection, as my mother had severe osteoporosis and had a lot of pain from it in her later years. It’s not a life threatening condition, but it can be life changing. When she lost bone density and 5 inches in height, she had constant pain, easily broke bones when she fell, and postural changes caused digestive problems.
Having witnessed my mother go through these progressive changes, I do not want this for my future, and so I want to learn what I can do to support the health of my bones.
In my sixties now, the condition is not affecting me with pain or physical changes, and I am eager to prevent this. I work and am active but my view of osteoporosis is changing. Being a student of Universal Medicine and the teachings of the Way of the Livingness, I have learnt a deeper understanding from Serge Benhayon that energetically, osteoporosis is caused by lack of self-love and deep disregard for myself. Initially my reaction was: ‘Of course I look after myself!’ But on reflection, I realized I did this after looking after everyone else. I paid lip service to looking after myself. This felt like a really old pattern of putting myself last for a very long time. I can fully appreciate this understanding: If I’m not nurturing my physical body, why should it be strong and solid to provide me with a sound bony foundation?
So I looked at my diet and felt into what types of food supported me, and noticed how my body felt after certain foods. I stopped drinking alcohol and felt immediately clearer in my head and my body. I knew that caffeine didn’t feel good for me, but did you know that we excrete calcium in our urine when we drink caffeine? I always knew I felt bloated and tired after eating bread and food with gluten, so experimented with reducing them, and found I had so much more energy. By changing my diet, my body feels more nurtured. I am giving myself more care, and I’ve started putting me first. I used to think that would be selfish, but now I can feel how self-loving this is. I’m living now by expressing myself more honestly when in conversation, feeling what needs to be said rather than pleasing people.
Living truly and supporting myself is also helping my bones.
I know as a physiotherapist that exercise is an important factor for health and bone density. Weight bearing exercise, specific resistance exercises and a healthy balanced calcium rich diet can all help bone density. But over exercising is not recommended, and it can be deleterious to people with anorexia nervosa to do extreme exercise. It can contribute to further weight loss, which could also be detrimental to bone density. High impact running, jogging or skipping can increase susceptibility to stress fractures in the feet or lower limbs. Or if people do horse riding or skiing and increase their risk of falling, this could increase their risk of breaking a bone. So the balance of exercise is important, as the present day thoughts of exercising to extreme is quite popular at the moment. My exercise changed from the gym using heavier weights to exercising gently on a regular basis with light weights and walking outside most days, loving the sunshine for the vitamin D absorption.
With this new understanding, I can feel the impact of a deeper healing from the conventional understanding of medical treatment for illness. I am learning to care for myself on a daily basis that is, in turn, supporting my physical body. This is a huge learning that I can bring into practice in other areas of my life, knowing how I can heal mental and emotional as well as physical issues I thought was going to carry with me throughout my whole life.
With a medical diagnosis and an esoteric understanding of osteoporosis, I am combining the treatment of conventional and esoteric medicine together to live in better health.