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In more than 24 years of helping patients, often where nothing has worked before, several insights have emerged that make it easier to achieve recovery of health, wellness and vitality.
I’m giving you 5 important insights and action steps that you can use to help yourself recover. Think about them, relate them to your situation, use them!
Wishing you Outstanding Wellness!
Dr Rodney Adeniyi-Jones
Know that you are unique
- You are unique. As you use lifestyle strategies and apply treatments for your health, whether they are supported by science and evidence, by a recommendation from someone, or by a testimonial, remember that none of the people in the research trial, none of the people who had great anecdotal results, and none of the people making recommendations – is you.
When a health or lifestyle recommendation or a treatment has been researched and found to be scientifically proven and beneficial, there will always be some people in the study who were not helped by the recommendations in question. So if it seems appropriate, or highly recommended, try the treatment, and welcome any benefits you get from it.
But be ready to notice before too long if the treatment is not working for you. You may have to modify it or use and entirely different treatment.
This happens more often than people realise, because we are far more different from one another than we think.
Comparing the DNA of people from the same population finds on average a difference of 4 to 5 million DNA units (out of 3 billion units) between individuals.
Measuring hundreds of the 2,000 plus chemicals in blood, shows very wide differences in dozens of chemicals between comparable people from the same population (similar age, gender, state of health etc). These differences affect how we respond to just about everything.
If you respond differently to treatments and recommendations from your friends or people you read about, or even from the expectations of people treating you, it doesn’t mean that you are necessarily more ill or more complex than everyone else. It just means that you are different.
Ultimately, you must find what works for you – by guided experimentation.
Address more than one thing
- There is usually more than one thing. The insights of functional medicine make it clear that multiple factors act together keep us unwell. Each dysfunction makes it harder for the other to be resolved.
When you been ill for along time, and you put considerable effort into improving your health without major success, you will often concentrate on finding and resolving ‘the main problem’. This could be lead toxicity, Lyme disease, SIB0 (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), untreated hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, or one of many other major disruptors of health.
When you find the ‘main problem’, you can be sure that several enabling factors are keeping the problem in place. Some will need to be addressed directly, while others improve automatically if you adopt a lifestyle that works for you. The key here is to make sure that multiple factors are addressed effectively to break out of the vicious circle.
Manage your energy
- Energy is the universal currency of health. Defence repair and detox processes all require energy. Physical mental and emotional levels of energy affect our sense of well-being and also affect our body’s ability to self repair and self regulate.
Physical and metabolic energy derive from the burning of fuel in our bodies, and from the tiny power stations in each cell – called mitochondria. High-energy water within the cells is the second major source of physical energy. Mental and emotional energy both influence and are influenced by physical energy. They can deplete or increase physical energy to a surprising degree, based on our habits of thought and our qualities of emotional response and resilience.
Exercise, properly used, is a magnificent generator of energy. As with everything, however, too much can set you back a long way.
Controlling exertion is the key to energy management. Ill health often requires that we bring up maximum exertion just to make it through the day. We get used to this, and as we improve, instead of keeping our activity level low and building reserves of energy, we keep pushing ourselves, do too much too soon, and crash out of the recovery process. Again. The simple way to think of it is that energy we use to do things is not available for our bodies to use in healing. Celebrate increased energy by doing less than you think you can.
Pro-actively reduce/release your stress
- Stress is always a factor in chronic illness. Being unwell is stressful, whether or not we feel it. Even if the rest of our lives is not stressful, even if there are no past stressors or adverse childhood events contributing to our unwellness, we still need to reduce or release our stress to get the quickest and most robust recovery of health.
The list of illnesses that have been linked to stress increases steadily, and stress can play a major role in many illnesses for which the link is not so obvious.
The ‘repair and regeneration’ part of our nervous system (parasympathetic) carries out constant repair and regeneration on a daily basis. It ramps up when we face health challenges, and underpins the effect of all treatments that work. It operates through many, many regulatory systems, including nerves, hormones, and other messenger molecules. When stress is present (whether we feel it mentally, physically or not at all) the repair and regeneration system is restricted in its activity, resources are consumed more rapidly, and a higher degree of ‘wear and tear’ occurs. Cellular energy production (in the mitochondria) may shut down, and one indicator that all is not well is that our telomeres shorten rapidly.
Telomeres are parts of our chromosomes that reflect the impact of our lifestyle (among other things) on the genetic reserves and resources of our body. Short telomeres indicate rapid cellular aging and greater vulnerability to illness.
The way people process stress determines whether or not their telomeres will be shortened by it; the way people cope with stress affects how well they can recover from illness. Most forms of stress management allow the stress to remain in your system, but reduce its impact. Mind-body stress release eliminates stored stresses, reduces the total stress load, and allows the repair and regeneration system to work more effectively. Any form of stress management or release is better than none! Find an effective form of stress release that you can enjoy, that you can use frequently.
- We seldom have all the information we need! Making important decisions without enough information to know what to do for the best is a part of the human condition – and never more so than when we are ill.
Although we cannot get all the necessary information, it is important to get and use the information that we can to guide our decisions. Some people are better than others at gathering and understanding information, and it is essential to realise when you are getting out of your depth. That is the time to find and talk to someone who can explain things clearly, and help you understand the main issues. In particular, this can help you to understand how much is known about your situation and how much is unclear and uncertain.
Be aware, though, that nobody has absolute certainty, and that all our knowledge evolves over time.
Once you are clear about the information that exists, the time has come to activate – and to trust – your inner GPS.
Weigh things up. Make a decision that you feel you can stand by whether things turn out well or not as you hoped, and go with it fully. Activate your inner GPS, make your best decision given the information and circumstances, and do not damage yourself with doubt.