Mental health

 

This is an area I didn’t expect to focus on when I first began studying natural medicine decades ago. However, I quickly realized that although most of my patients found me for physiological concerns, they often had mental health issues that were intricately tied into their physical well- being. When we addressed the underlying health issues, their physical symptoms would quickly start to improve. But patients would also report decreased anxiety/depression, better stress management, less overwhelm and irritability, and improved concentration. It works the other way as well! I have been lucky enough to co-treat several patients who are working with mental health therapists at the same time. It turns out that processing sources of mental/emotional stress, cognitive dissonance, and trauma reduces physical pain and inflammation. It also makes patients more likely to engage in health-generating behaviors! Of course, now we have a huge body of research looking at links between the physical body, the brain, neurotransmitter/ hormone production, digestion, nutritional deficiencies, activity level, and emotional experience. I almost feel silly making a distinction between physical health and mental health, because they are often one and the same.

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