It is a pleasure to have Holistic Health Care Expert Jen Wittman guest post here on zenthyroid.com. I first met Jen on Twitter and love the knowledgeable and compassionate way which she shares advice. Jen is a leader in our thyroid community who has a sincere desire to help others recover from illness. She has healed her own Hashimoto’s (!!!!) and now coaches others to do the same.
Jen is the creator of The Radical TLC Solution, a home study program that teaches an effective and holistic approach on treating and reversing thyroid, autoimmune and inflammatory disease. Jen offers step-by-step plans focused on nutrition, lifestyle and heaps of self-care. I have personally done The Radical TLC Solution and it has changed the way I have approached my healing process. I now see my thyroid disease in a different light – more as a symptom of a larger issue than just the main problem that I need to focus on. I truly feel more empowered! This is the first program that I have endorsed – I really believe this can help so many of us to feel better and have greater control of our health.
In this article, Jen shares the benefits that we can get by expanding our health care team and mindset beyond the doctor’s office. Having a group of healers (including ourselves) approaching our disease from different angles provides us with more access points to wellness.
Don’t forget: Your Health IS Your Wealth.
If you’re a thyroid, autoimmune or inflammatory disease sufferer, it’s time to think outside the HMO/PPO box when it comes to your health.
The kind of health care that is the most impactful and long-term often comes from a team effort. Some practitioners on your health team will be covered by insurance—and that’s a great thing. Other extremely talented, complementary, functional and integrative physicians, practitioners, coaches and experts will not be covered by the health insurance companies’ wee little umbrella. But that doesn’t mean they should be left out of your health care.
When we take preventive measures to protect our health and stay energized and fulfilled, we don’t need to seek traditional medical care as often. We have to invest in our health—whether that means paying out of pocket for services, treatments, supplements or self-care like massage, fitness classes, reiki, etc.
Western medicine has its limits.
If you’re dealing with thyroid or autoimmune disease, chances are you’ve run smack into the limits of Western medicine. Don’t get me wrong: Western medicine can accomplish miraculous things and I definitely wouldn’t want to do without it. What I do want is for our doctors and medical schools to wake up to the fact that Western medicine isn’t all there is.
For example, complementary healing techniques can be powerful tools for reversing thyroid, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Incorporating a few of these techniques will balance your personal healing program and likely speed up the process of reversing these diseases.
Some of these techniques may be covered by your insurance, so it’s worth it to check it out. I know investing financially in your health can be tough sometimes, but many alternative healing practitioners work on a sliding scale or are open to trading their services if you have something to trade.
The great thing is that you get to choose how to invest in your health so you get the best, most efficient health care which, in the end, will pay you back by preventing or eliminating disease as well as cutting down on health care costs now and down the road.
Who’s on your healing team?
Here are the top 5 practitioners I would invite onto your healing team NOW rather than investing in hospital visits later:
Health Coach or Nutritionist The number one key to healing thyroid and autoimmune problems is healing your gut, so a health coach, nutritionist, or other practitioner who can help guide you to getting your gut healed would be my absolute first priority if I were newly diagnosed.
Acupuncturist I came to acupuncture after my husband and I were hit by a semi-truck. I had so many physical injuries and I was under a mountain of stress and health care bills. Luckily, my GP was at UCLA and the clinic next to his office was the UCLA East-West Medical Clinic. My doc referred me there to try to get a handle on my stress and my injuries. I am so glad he did. He recommended I get weekly acupuncture (which was covered by my insurance!), so for 3 years, I had acupuncture treatments a couple of times a month. It really helped with so many things…and any new symptom that cropped up could be addressed in real-time with my beloved acupuncturist. He even helped me with nausea and other symptoms during my pregnancy. Acupuncture can be helpful for a host of things including thyroid.
Massage Therapist Massage is more than just a luxury. It’s true that it’s something you have to invest in, but as with so many of these healing steps, it’s an investment in your long-term health and wellbeing. Medical studies have revealed that even a 10 or 20 minute massage (the kind you can get at the grocery store or the mall!) can have therapeutic benefits including improving immune function, boosting circulation, reducing stress, reducing the time it takes to recover from injury, and alleviating pain. It can also reduce depression and anxiety and promote restful sleep patterns. Massage also promotes circulation and the elimination of toxins from your body, which are key to improving your thyroid health. And, massage is making its way into “mainstream” medical treatment. Some insurance policies now cover massage, and some massage chains (like Massage Envy) are adept at filing claims with your insurance company for you.
Reiki Practitioner I would have never believed that Reiki could work or even tried it if I wasn’t suffering so badly a few years ago. I read and read about it but was always worried that I’d waste money on a Reiki treatment because I wouldn’t be able to tell if it actually worked or not. Luckily, on a visit back home to Indiana, a friend of mine encouraged me to try out her Reiki practitioner when I was complaining of hip pain. The experience I had was life-changing. Not only could I feel this energetic massage, my nervous system felt relaxed, my thyroid felt vital and my body felt energized. I have not questioned the healing power of Reiki since and have incorporated it into my personal healing program.
Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong Instructor Qi Gong, tai chi and yoga are all ancient forms of mindful, meditative and gentle exercise, and also happen to be easy ways to increase the circulation of your lymphatic system. The movements of all of these mind/body fitness techniques helps provide relief to the lymphatic system as well as assists with lymphatic drainage, which is important to detoxifying your body. These techniques also relax the nervous system while providing energy to the body. We all know we need to exercise, even when we’re dealing with thyroid symptoms, and a good yoga class can be gentle enough for even your tired days, while invigorating enough to be beneficial to your body.