No Magic Pill for Optimal Health
Around the turn of the 20th century, most disease was caused by a single entity, and the cure was one treatment. From the 1920s onward, food crops became more mainstream and mass-produced, including the addition of various chemicals and hormones. Toward the middle of the century, lifestyles shifted toward higher stress and a more sedentary routine, not to mention declining food quality and increased preservatives. All of this contributed to the rise of diseases that weren’t as easy to cure. Over the next several decades and into current times, many of our health concerns have multiple risk factors and causes and require a multifaceted approach to healing.
Our endocrine system includes at least eight different organs located throughout the body, complicated by the fact that each one is in multiple conversations, both advising and receiving direction on what to do next. There’s a lot of cross-talk between organs—and sometimes, factors like poor diet, too much stress, sedentary lifestyle, poor sleep, using chemical-laden beauty and/or cleaning products, and living in an urban (versus rural) environment interrupt those conversations and change the response.
When these responses get changed enough and the body gets confused trying to accommodate these conflicting messages, we get symptoms. Some are very specific, while others are frustrating and vague—like not feeling good, being fatigued, being unable to lose the last few pounds, or experiencing a little more anxiety/depression/irritability than usual.
Hormonal concerns encompass sleep, energy, libido, acne, mood, menses, bone health, reproductive health, digestion, and our stress response, to name a few. Hormone levels can vary based on a variety of factors. Further, trying to compensate for any of this may worsen existing concerns, or create new ones. At this point, it’s like the internal conversations have become screaming matches.
These different scenarios help explain why perhaps one or a few pharmaceuticals or supplements may only provide temporary relief. They can inform the body to lower its voices (maybe only some more than others), but healing and potentially preventing other outcomes occurs when the body has material to learn how to have a polite conversation.
Our symptoms didn’t just happen overnight, and we need to take responsibility for all aspects of health (mental, emotional, and physical), as merely 5–10% of it is genetically determined. When the Titanic hit the iceberg (they couldn’t steer it away fast enough), it was in such a way that it compromised enough compartments and sank even faster than it normally would have. It also started its journey with what would later be described as “human folly and arrogance, paired with pomp and potential.”*
Like health, we may overestimate how much our body can handle until we can’t, or we deep down hope it’s not that bad. Similar to the numerous factors and warnings that could have prevented the ship from hitting the iceberg or decreasing the number of lives lost, we know we are in this present state for a reason and need to address and treat all the reasons that got us here. This includes diagnostic tools like physical exams, blood work, imaging, or any specialized testing that is needed to acquire additional information. Eventually, treatment becomes an individualized plan because while people may have the same concern, how and why they are in this scenario is unique.
As a naturopathic doctor, I specialize in naturally addressing hormonal-based/endocrinology-related concerns, including inability to lose weight, insomnia, anxiety/depression, and low energy—all through nutrition, lifestyle solutions, herbs, and homeopathy. My plans for patients encompass the mental, emotional, and physical sides of healing. I also teach and empower my patients to listen to their bodies. I believe in instilling a proper foundation of health through diet, sleep, stress, and lifestyle. Any form of medication should supplement, not replace, an unhealthy lifestyle.
In working with patients, I help them understand that hormonal issues are about more than raising or lowering levels with a pharmaceutical or supplement, because of our mind-body connection. I also help establish your foundation of health, which comprises a healthful diet and lifestyle, stress management, and rest, plus heightened awareness of your body’s conversations and what it needs to have restaurant-level voices.
Due to emotions stored in our cells (think of bursting out crying on a massage table), healing may also become “two steps forward, one step back” as we embrace another level of health and presence. Healing becomes more than just feeling better, as it is a mindful journey that requires constant work and adjustment as we encounter different experiences. However, when you act from your foundation of health and a place of awareness and responsibility, then prevention and optimal health are inevitable.
To learn more about my work, check out my website: www.drserenagoldstein.com
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