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by Camille Harris, L.Ac.

Let's face it, most of us wait until we are in a world of hurt before we see a healthcare provider. We ride out a cold and an upset stomach, consume caffeine when we have an energy dip, and take over-the-counter pain medication when we can't stand the pain any longer.  The body is complex but yet very simple in what it needs to stay healthy.
We all know that we should eat right, get our rest, and make sure we exercise. We all know this, right?
When we were younger it didn't seem to matter, we knew whatever was wrong would be rectified within a day or two. But as we get older we start to realize what once took a day now takes us 3 to 5 days to feel like we can function. 
We start to understand quickly how important keeping "well" is. Poor health affects our intimate and social relationships, not to mention our bank accounts.
But when you ask most people how well they know their body and what can trigger their nagging ailments, we are clueless.
With all the changes in health care these days, it is time for us to step up to the plate and be the expert on ourselves. With our ever expanding access to knowledge and use of technology this is becoming easier and easier.
There are four keys to start this journey of becoming an expert on yourself.

1.) Educate Yourself:
Use the internet and it's wealth of information on the how your body works what how it responds to dysfunction. Some reputable sites are Web MD, Livestrong, and Mayo Clinic. Web MD and Mayo Clinic are predominately western medicine based, which is good in understanding how the body works and they do an excellent job on letting you know which signs and symptoms need to be seem by an MD. Livestrong is a great overall site and has great information on how to keep yourself well.

2.) Pay Attention to Your Body:
Take a couple of moments throughout the day to check in with your body. One of the many questions I ask patients when they come in for a treatment is, "when did you first notice the problem" and "can you identify what triggered it?." You can learn a lot from this inquiry. Was it triggered by the sitting to long at your computer, was it triggered by something you ate, does it happen when the seasons or weather changes, does it flare up when your emotions get activated, or does it happen when you over-do-it. So start to pay attention to when your condition flares up and check in what could have triggered it. Once you start to listen to your body the step is to document your body's history,

3.) Document
Once you get clear about where, when, how, and what your body is telling you, another inquiry that is important to document and is specific to Chinese Traditional Medical practitioners are;
  • Your energy level: what time of day is it at it's peak and what time of day is it at it's lowest.
  • Your digestion: What do you eat and how do you feel after your eat (i.e., do you have bloating or gas, do you feels tired or energized, etc.)
  • Your sleep: how many hours do your get, is it easy or hard for your to fall asleep, do you wake up in the middle of the night.
  • Your mood: are you stressed, depressed, angry, sad, happy, irritable, etc.
  • For women: the regularity or non-regularity of your menstrual cycle.
All of the above indicates a certain "pattern" of harmony or disharmony within the organs.
Once you recognize it, then document it. Use Google calendar or any note taking app on your Smartphone to keep track. These inquires are invaluable to getting to the root cause of your issue.
Healthcare providers can provide better care and dispense preventative advice if they have a clear sense of what has happened in the past.


4.) Practice Grace: Make Changes One at a Time
Sustainable health does not  happen overnight. Avoid tackling multiple issues at once. I have found that patients with multiple complaints do better focusing on one thing at a time. It is more manageable. Pick one complaint and bring it back into balance. For example, let's say you have sleep and digestive issues, put the primary focus on bringing your sleep issues back into harmony. Sometimes you may find that if we bring the sleep back into balance we may find the digestion system will come into harmony as well,  or visa versa.
Take it slow and listen to your body. You are your best expert. As healthcare providers, we do not feel what your are feeling, we can only offer advice based on the signs and symptoms we are given.

5.) Take Full Responsibly for Your Health
In a time where corners are being cut at every turn with regards to healthcare and we are asked to pay higher and higher deductibles, we all need to fully embrace preventative health measures. Studies have showed time and time again that regular exercise, eating whole foods, and learning how to manage our emotions go along way to optimal health. Take on educating yourself about the best strategies that work for you.

For more information on free events, educational workshops, or private consultations on how to take the initial steps, please contact Camille Harris, L.Ac. at (310) 382-4323



 

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