Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Alternatives

I've never been an all-or-nothing kind of person. I see the world in shades of gray rather than in black and white.

So when it comes to issues of health, I'm open to all kinds of therapies, treatments, etc. For me, there is a place for many philosophies: "traditional" medicine (as we know it here in the U.S.), osteopathy, chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, nutrition, exercise and even spiritual healing (for me, that is more a positive thinking sort of thing than it is a religious sort of thing). I'm open to whatever it is that will make me feel better when I'm sick and feel even healthier when I'm healthy.

That's not to say I always practice what I preach. I have plenty of unhealthy habits (I consume a lot of caffeine and my fair share of junk food), and many quirky opinions on what is or isn't healthy (I believe canola oil is very unhealthy despite the hype that says it's safe). All I'm saying is that I'm open to alternatives.

Most of you know that I recently had my gall bladder removed. That was a very routine "Western medicine" procedure, and I'm OK with that. It was removed primarily as a preventative against the possibility of cancer later, and I'm definitely OK with that. What I want to share, though, is what happened after the surgery. Lying around recuperating sounds like a restful way to spend a few days, but the inactivity caused my back to ache and the muscles in both my back and abdomen to be tense nearly all of the time. I can't say I was in pain, but I was really uncomfortable, and having trouble sleeping because of it.

My first thought was that I needed to see my chiropractor, but the thought of being incision-down on the table for him to pop my back sounded awful. Then I remembered that a few years ago I had seen a wonderful physical therapist who also administered Cranio-Sacral Therapy, a type of very gentle massage therapy. I decided I might like to go see her again, but she's an hour away; I've lost her contact information and was unable to find it online. I'm sure I could find another therapist closer to me, but instead of that, I also remembered that during my massage therapy sessions I had bought a Still Point Inducer, so I used that. I don't use it exactly as intended; quite by accident, and following my body's own cues, I found my own way of using it that results in a treatment very similar to what my massage therapist would do in a session. After 10-15 minutes on the inducer, all the tension in my back was gone, as was most of the tension in my belly. I slept like a rock that night, too. That was Monday night, and I'm still tension free.

This brings to mind a few of things to consider. First, because I'm open to alternatives, I was able to make myself comfortable without taking pain killing drugs or sleep aids that don't set well with me. I believe there are times when meds are called for, but that this wasn't one of them. Second, by listening to my own body instead of someone else's directions or opinions, I was able to give it what it needed. I was able to see that using my inducer might be a good option, and also able to use my inducer in a way that was most beneficial to me. And third, I was reminded that whatever works, works. It doesn't matter if someone else thinks a therapy is quackery. If holding a straw between my teeth and dancing the hula works for me, then I'm going to stick with it.

I'm still learning. Like many people, I was raised to believe that "doctor knows best". And I'm sure there are times when doctor does know best. But there are certainly other times when I know what's best for me.

I know at least two of my readers (and probably another one or two) visit alternative medicine practitioners with good results. What about the rest of you? Are you open to alternative therapies or are you more comfortable with traditional Western medicine? What kind of results are you getting?

8 comments:

Leanne said...

Robert's in love with his accupunturist. I think if he ever leaves me for anyone, it will be her:) He occasionally gets a nightmare of a sore back which sometimes completely locks up after a car accident about 8 years ago and he damaged the catiliage in his left knee in his 20s and he swears nothing else helps. He maybe only has to go for one course of treatment once a year and sometimes less often and it sets him straight then for a full year with no need for pain meds. He drives all day and has to operate scissor lifts quite often so any meds strong enough to put a dent in the pain are a big no no during work hours.

Hot water cures most of my headaches. Sometimes drinking a cup of hot water sorts it and others it takes just standing under a hot shower for ten minutes and I'm right as rain.

Annie Jones said...

I haven't tried acupuncture yet, but I want to. I think it might be very helpful in controlling the migraines I get.

Heat helps me, too, especially with sinus issues. Drinking something hot (especially Earl Grey tea...the Bergamot in it is supposed to help), a hot shower, or putting my head on a warm heating pad all help to get rid of sinus headaches for me.

Cathy said...

Annie,I love your openness to alternative care. I don't think that a person has to choose between Western or alternative care, they just have to make themselves aware of all the options available out there and then decide what works best for their current situation. Maybe it is only Western medicine or maybe only alternative care or maybe it is a mixture. I like choices.

I have tried so many different things both allopathically and alternatively. I prefer alternative medicine because I believe it tries to get to the root of the problem. However, I believe allopathic has its place and will use it if I believe it is necessary.

Sending you healing thoughts as you make your way back to feeling you again.

Anonymous said...

Great! Now I'm paranoid of Canola oil! :)

Melinda

Annie Jones said...

Cathy: Thank you, and the very same back to you. :)

Melinda: Wow! You're out of hiding? LOL!

Tug said...

I've tried acupuncture (before my back surgery, in hopes of not having to do the surgery) and it didn't work for me, but that's the only time I've tried it. I do the chiropractor once a month; I prefer massages, which usually work, but haven't found a good one here. I use the rice bag straight out of the freezer for my headaches, which works best for me.

I've never heard of this Still Point Inducer, but think I'll order one & try it! Thanks for that. ;-)

SonyaAnn said...

I'm SO happy for you!!! We are on the same page. Most of the time the "real" doctors don't listen so you are no better off than when you started!!! I'm so proud that you listened to your body and fixed it with the cost and aggravation of a doctor!
My guess is I'm one of the alternative medicine readers! yaay, I'm special.

Annie Jones said...

Tug: If you get one, let me know. We can compare notes.

SonyaAnn: Yes, you were one of the ladies I was thinking of. And yes, you are special ;). Cathy was the other. I thought of another one or two, but I'm not sure whether they are still reading here.