Years ago, when I was practicing medicine in an unusual way and trying to find language to describe what I was doing, I struggled through words that didn’t quite fit my definition. Although words like “integrative medicine” and “holistic health” got close, the way those words are understood in our culture wasn’t the same thing I envisioned. To me, “integrative medicine” meant you play nice in the medical sandbox with acupuncturists and homeopaths. “Holistic health” meant you recommend green juice cleanses and prescribe a lot of supplements. “Functional medicine” means you order a lot of unusual laboratory tests not usually covered by insurance, and you treat often neglected biochemical imbalances naturally. While I very much appreciate the value of natural medicines, green juice cleanses, non-mainstream lab tests, and alternative healers, and while I fully endorse the benefit of all of these interventions, I was more journeying down another rabbit hole, where patients were having “spontaneous remissions” without drugs, supplements, raw vegan diets, or acupuncture needles.
We all know what it’s like to fill out detailed forms about our medical history at the doctor's office. But is your doctor asking you the questions he or she really needs in order to get a good read on your health? At the Whole Health Medicine Institute, the training program my team runs for doctors, nurses, acupuncturists, energy healers and other health care providers, we teach healers how to ask patients the right questions. But in case your doctor isn’t asking you the questions that might illuminate potential root causes of your illness, try asking yourself these questions.
1. What is your body saying no to?
As a physician, I’ve been exposed to a variety of wellness models, most of them pie charts and pyramids detailing what it takes to be optimally healthy - a nutritious diet, an exercise regimen, enough sleep - you catch my drift.
But something about these wellness models always left me feeling like something was missing. First, it was the format. A pie chart implies that you can take out a piece of the pie and still keep the rest of the uneaten pie intact. The same is true for a pyramid - if you take a strip out of a pyramid - you wind up with a shorter, but still stable pyramid.
Some wellness models are more holistic than others, accounting not only for conventionally “healthy” behaviors, but also for other facets of what makes a good life - social network, professional life, etc. Even still, I never found one that spoke to my soul. None of them ever felt expansive enough, comprehensive enough, or acknowledging of the interdependency of all the facets of what makes us whole and how these life factors affect the body.
From the day I launched OwningPink.com on April 26, 2009, my intention was to create a blog that explored all the facets of what I believed led to a healthy life - relationships, work/life purpose, creativity, spirituality, sexuality, your environment, finances, mental health, and physical health. My hypothesis was that each of these facets had to be in balance, not only with each other, but with the truth of who you are, the part of you I call your “Inner Pilot Light.” In other words, it’s not enough to be in a relationship if your relationship is out of alignment with your truth. It’s not enough to be having sex if you’re selling out your authentic sexual desires. It’s not enough to go to church if you really find communion with Source in nature instead. For years, my blog focused on helping people understand health in this kind of expanded way, but it didn’t fit neatly into an elevator speech or any wellness model I’d ever stumbled across.