A Wellness Lifestyle

In a wellness scenario, the time to tackle the problem is when you have the first small signs. The first principle of wellness is paying attention to what your body is trying to tell you. Indigestion is not caused by a Rolaids deficiency. Listening to your body can help you make healthful changes in your lifestyle that will affect not only your tummy, but your entire well-being.

For example, if your indigestion happens when your stress level is high, then you can focus on building stress-management tools. If your indigestion happens after you eat milk products, then the solution may be the elimination of dairy products. If your indigestion is worse when you are out of shape, then an exercise program may be in order.

Wellness is more than the absence of illness. Wellness is having the energy to do the things you dream of. It is the belief that your body wants to heal itself and that you can improve your health over time, rather than stand by and watch it deteriorate. Does that mean you won’t age?

No, all people age. But we can build a strong house so that we age gracefully. Having a healthy body prevents chronic, degenerative illnesses that are primarily products of our lifestyle. Wellness demands that we take responsibility for our own health and make changes in the way we live to help our body function more optimally.

We are required to ask questions, rather than just accept the cultural norm. Complementary medicine is rapidly becoming integrated into American culture and into conventional care. The therapies most used include herbal medicine, massage, acupuncture and Chinese traditional medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, megavitamins, self-help groups, folk remedies, energy healing, and homeopathy.

People seek out alternative medicine mainly for chronic health problems such as back pain and headaches. Although it will probably take at least another decade for complementary practices to be fully integrated into current standard medical practice, the changes are happening rapidly.

Complementary medicine is cost-effective; honors the feelings, wisdom, and knowledge of the patient; and empowers each person to be active in her own care. It puts the soul and spirit back into medicine, and this is what we are all embracing. (But obviously, you know this—you have this book in your hands.)

You would benefit from a consultation with a certified clinical nutritionist (CCN), a certified nutrition specialist (CNS), or a physician who specializes in nutritional or functional medicine. These professionals can help you determine the essentials of your program, its duration, and how to work with it over time.

When you find a health professional whom you like, trust, respect, and are attuned to, listen to his or her advice. When you agree on a plan of action, follow through. Many people “shop around” for therapeutics and practitioners and never really complete any given program.

You aren’t doing yourself a favor if you don’t make a commitment. If you want to add another therapy or modality to your program, talk it over with the health professional you are working with. Team efforts often give the best results, but only with commitment and communication. You can only really tell what the results will be if you follow the plan over a set period of time.

If you feel that a given therapy isn’t helping after a certain amount of time, it may not be the correct one for you. If you have a bad feeling about a therapy or about the person you are working with, do something about it. Be bold, ask questions, educate yourself, and direct your own care. Or find someone else to work with.

Here are some people you may want to put on your wellness team: medical doctor, chiropractor, naturopathic physician, homeopath, energetic healer, clinical nutritionist, physical therapist, acupuncture practitioner, herbalist, psychologist, counselor, colon therapist, massage therapist, or body worker. Each of these professionals can guide you toward health from their own perspective.