You are as important to your health as it is to you.
This year I’ve turned a corner, and one of the chapters I now write is how I want to take care of my body and soul. While I’ve always given it some thought, I’ve made some decisions that not all traditional folks agree with, but one that – finally – feels right with ME. And that’s what matters the most.
I made the decision, after being declined for private health insurance, to not worry about it traditional methods anymore. Instead, I’ve opened myself up to the wide array of options that are out there to better take care of myself in a way that honors my mind, body, AND pocketbook. And I’ve become what Shannon Hayes, author of Radical Homemakers, calls, a “conscientious objector to the conventional healthcare industry.” As she says, and as it reverberates deeply within me, “it is hard paying exorbitant premiums…knowing that a significant portion is used to employ a staff whose job security relies upon denying claims to its policyholders.”
In the 1950′s , our country was considered one of the healthiest in the world. Now, we rank LOWER than any other industrialized country, even though we pay MORE than any other country on healthcare. We have the cheapest food as well. And one thing I’ve always believed is that when it comes to food, you get what you pay for. When it comes to your mind and heart and soul, what you put in relates directly to what you get out.
So with that, I now focus even more on my holistic health. I’ve stepped up my yoga practice to not only regain my flexibility and increase my relaxation, but also to allow for emotional healing and growth. Bi-monthly massage is allowing myself the beautiful emotional restoration and physical circulation that result from touch. And mentally, I’ve empowered myself to expect fairness, ethics, and sensitivity in my business and personal relationships, which made a tremendous impact in my overall peace of mind (and therefore immunity).
Next come the bigger steps – how do I wholly address the traditionally “bigger” healthcare preventative issues? As a woman, I’ve heard much of the same things throughout my whole life, wrapped in pink ribbons and scare tactics. You don’t question it. You sit there, terrified of lumps. You take synthetics to replace what’s left of your underperforming thyroid – and get no information about natural ways to improve its health. You voluntarily get exposed every year since age 29 to radiation 1,000 times greater than a chest x-ray, because of “family history”, even contemplating expensive genetic testing to further heighten the fears. And no one talks about what’s building up inside of your body because of these machines. And beyond a passing “eat healthy and get exercise”, no mention of self-care.
So I’m doing it a little differently this year. I’m seeing a naturopath to learn about my body in new ways, one who is focused on women’s health, particularly women of my age, whose background includes thyroid care. She also does annual pap exams as well, and focuses on integrative health. Yes!! That’s what I’m talkin’ about, people. And get this – they actually post their prices (and cash payment discounts) right on their website. Try asking your MD’s receptionist to tell you how much a service costs before the appointment. Ha!
And, just as I received my annual notice in the mail, the most beautiful thing happened. In reading my book for school by Dr. Christiane Northrup, I learned about breast thermography as an alternative to mammograms. Yes, an alternative, NOT a “complementary” procedure as many websites would like to have you think.
Not only does thermography offer a non-invasive (and therefore zero pain) procedure, The American Journal of Roentgenoloqy reports it’s incredibly higher rate of detection. “With thermography, we can often detect cancer up to ten years in advance of when it would be picked up in a mammogram or clinical breast exam.” (source). In addition, thermography helps in situations where traditional mammograms are known to be unsuccessful, including for women on HRT, nursing mothers, and those with fibrocystic, large, dense, or enhanced breasts.
There’s a great blog post by Sarah on The Healthy Home Economist blog with her story of her attempts to avoid radiation through thermography, and the massive bureaucracy she was forced to deal with in protecting her breasts and seeking out treatment options. And the more I read, the more intriguing the story gets. Universal healthcare icons, Canada and Australia are, strangely, trying to ban the procedure, ultimately driven by money, protecting the radiology profession profiting from mammography machines. Some are trying to state the “false positives” of thermography, when, ironically, it’s been proven that these false positives were actually positives – the deal is, they detected the cancer 5-10 years earlier, so their theories were proven wrong.
I’ll report back after this and let you know what I learn. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts about how you have found alternate ways of self-care. What keeps you healthy? What keeps you WELL?
Life is not merely to be alive, but to be well.
~Marcus Valerius Martial