Bipolar, Mental Wellness

Manic Monday: 3 Alternative Medicines

Complementary health services can often be used alongside Western medicine, prescriptions for example, with your doctor’s advice. I’ve hired practitioners of the traditional healing arts with positive effects on my physical and mental health. I can tell you what has worked for me, but as I am not a physician, I cannot recommend a course of treatment. If your physician favors these options, I hope you will try them.

  1. Acupuncture: a traditional Chinese healing art that has been used for over 2,500 years. An acupuncturist uses sterile needles to stimulate body meridians and return them to equilibrium as a method to improve health. I first used acupuncture to help with migraines, and found it relaxed me a great deal and eliminated pain. Then, after a foot surgery to remove a thorn I stepped on, it reduced swelling. During pregnancy it balanced my system so well that I suffered very little morning sickness. In childbirth, it allowed me to give birth naturally, without an epidural. To this day, acupuncture helps me balance and uplift my mood.
  2. Chiropractor: although this is a very mainstream medicine, many people seem to believe chiropractic adjustments have merely a placebo effect and chiropractors are “snake oil” salespeople. That is not my experience at all. After our child was born they cried all day, every day for 100 days. Nursing was a happy time and when my partner would rock them face down in a sling our baby could sleep for half an hour at a time. I sensed our baby was in constant pain,. Finally, we saw a chiropractor two or three times and it was like a switch, once our baby’s spine was aligned, they slept through the night for the first time. That changed our lives. Our family gets adjusted every two weeks. Our neurons better communicate with our bodies when our spines are in alignment. I feel more peaceful after each appointment. Professional athletes know this secret. Why don’t we all?
  3. Naturopath: food is medicine would be one way to describe the field of naturopathy. What does the body need in terms of vitamins? What allergies or food intolerances might you have? Each person’s system is unique. Food and supplements are not a one size fits all affair. I have several food intolerances: gluten, dairy, and sugar. These can cause psychological and physical effects that mimic mental illness or make it more severe. Truthfully, this has been the biggest revelation to me in the last ten years. I eat differently and I feel much better. My mood has far fewer fluctuations. I don’t get the gluten growlies or bloated dairy belly. My blood sugar levels stay more constant and I can last from afternoon snack to dinner. How about you? Have you tested for any food intolerances?

What helps you stay in balance? Meditation? Exercise? Complementary medicine?

It’s Manic Monday and that’s good news! –Rebecca

Echinacea  Photo: Rebecca Cuningham

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