Wednesday, September 21, 2011


A lot of people, Christians especially, are afraid of different approaches to medicine, such as naturopaths and acupuncture. And they're legitimate fears. Eastern medicine is often closely tied to, in my humble opinion, weird sh*t, pardon my political incorrectness. Whereas eastern culture is very spirit oriented, western culture is often obsessed with body, body, body (insert "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha" inflection). It's all, "Be fit! Eat healthy!" or, "Eat that Big Mac! Watch TV forever!" creating a deadly war between what you want and what's good for you, while forgetting that a healthy body with an unhealthy mind is fairly pointless, and a healthy body with a nonexistent spirit is fairly empty. But I do NOT believe that your spirit and your mind are the same thing. I believe your spirit is separate and pure and shouldn't be messed around with, so yes, you do have to be careful taking part in something that could have spiritual elements that you don't believe in.
This is me after acupuncture.

But bear with me if you don't believe in spirituality in the first place, because part of me doesn't either. I'm pretty skeptical when it comes to anything spiritual, unless it's related to Jesus, which isn't very convincing if you also don't believe in Jesus or God for that matter. We think it's easier separating body and mind than mind and spirit but that's just because our bodies are pretty hard to ignore. Bodies are like whiny, needy babies. They smell and hurt and are constantly reminding you that they are there. Right now my body is saying, "I have to pee," "I'm hungry," and "Get back to work." Oh, no wait, that's my boss. But most people go their whole lives without experiencing anything spiritual, and I mean spiritual to the point that you can't explain it away by anything you have ever known. But not all different approaches to medicine are bad. And instead of being afraid of them we should be aware of what they are really all about and stay clear of anything we don't agree with. And I'm not going to water it down for you. I truly believe there is a spiritual world out there warring for your soul and you are either on the right side, Jesus' side, or the wrong side, Satan's side, whether you know it or not. So no doubt you have to be careful what kind of things you take part in, because it's no joke. Well, that is----

If right now you're thinking, "Oh, she's one of those," I'm going to pretend you mean special in a good way. But why am I going off on this tirade? Because I just had an over-the-phone appointment with a naturopath (over-the-phone because it's through my work) and I came away from it with mixed results: it has not only confirmed all of my suspicions, it has also made me start to suspect that those suspicions might be suspect. I'm pretty sure the naturopath thinks I'm delusional. She kept digging for some deep, dark secret from my past that must be causing my chronic fatigue and depression. She asked me, "Have you ever asked your mother how your birth went? Was it a traumatizing birth?" And I'm like, "Yeah I have, and other than a baby being torn from her vagina, I think she thought it went okay." Then she said, "Did something happen to you as a child? Any traumatic experiences? Any bad break-ups?" And I started to feel guilty for not having those things, like somehow I hadn't really lived until I'd been traumatized by something. The more she tried to convince me that I was hiding something, the more paranoid I became. She said I might be "internalizing" something I wasn't even aware of and while I might think I'm fine or not stressed out, my subconscious thinks otherwise and acts out. No! Why are you acting out subconscious? I thought we were friends. Then I started thinking, what if something really bad did happen to me but my brain is so effective that it blocked it out? I mean, thanks brain, I know you're just trying to look out for a girl, but really, it seems a little counter-productive. But no, I'm sorry naturopath lady for not fitting your preconceptions. She also wanted to tell me stories about herself. I'm like, I don't care about whether you worried a lot over a funny noise coming from your car because you thought it would cost a lot to fix and then found out that the mechanic did it for free. If my depression and chronic fatigue is caused from stupid stresses like a funny noise in my car, then shoot, I'm screwed. My car is always making funny noises. It's called learning to tune it out.

But the reason I went to a naturopath was a) because my family doctor sucks - in fact, every doctor I've ever seen has been about as helpful as a penguin with chopsticks - and b) because after trying so many different things on my own, it's time to start looking for help outside of the box. Unfortunately, our medical system lives in a neat, antibacterial box and thinking outside of that particular box costs money. Which explains the low-budget, over-the-phone naturopath appointment that my work is willing to pay for. But for all my cynicism, I actually came away very hopeful. One thing she suggested for de-stressing was two minutes of deep breathing exercises five times a day. And as much as I don't think I'm very stressed, hey, it can't hurt. Another is keeping a "Worry Journal," writing down five things every day that stress me out and then throwing the piece of paper away, though burning would be preferable... (just kidding. No but seriously I would prefer that) as well as a "Positive Journal." And this is my new, ultra-strict bedtime routine:
    One-Legged King Pigeon?
  1. 20-30 mins. of yoga. Wait, hold up. Yoga? There's a whole 'nother can of worms for Christians. Only the worms are funny-named poses like One-Legged King Pigeon, Cow Face, Lord of the Fishes (not flies or rings, fishes), Fetus, Corpse Pose (easy) and Reclining Big-Toe (even easier). I wonder if planking originated from the Corpse Pose... But I don't see why Christians can't separate the physical and mental elements from the spiritual ones they don't like. Just steer clear of the chanting. After all, there's no reason why Jesus can't do yoga with you.
  2. Then 20-30 mins. of reading and drinking sleepy-time tea. CAUTION: too much liquid + small bladder = getting up in the night to pee = not cool.
  3. Then bath time!!!! At first I wondered if the bath suggestion was just a sneaky attempt to enforce personal hygiene. At this point I was so paranoid that I assumed she must think I smell. Then I realized it was an over-the-phone appointment.
  4. Then straight to bed with no reading after that - if you didn't just gasp in horror, I don't think you quite comprehend the heresy of this one - with some optional relaxation exercises and rain forest music mixed in there. Lucky for me I already own a sound machine and although most of the sounds involve water, which isn't the greatest if you just drank tea, when you listen to the heartbeat setting and do the fetus pose you can pretend you're back in the womb. 
  5. Finally, when I wake up in the night I have to get up and read til I'm groggy. This is something I will not want to do. It will be a battle, friends, a battle, greater even than wanting to read in bed after bath time, because all I will want to do is turn over and go back to sleep. The hope is that by doing so I won't wake up again after that. Currently I wake up three or four times a night, meaning I'm never getting enough complete sleep cycles (if you're interested, check out this aptly titled article "Sleeping"). She also suggested I have more sleepy-time tea after the first time I wake up. Maybe she has an extra large bladder. Or maybe mine is puny. All I know is, when I went for an ultrasound test for my digestion a few months ago, the guy with the goo and the belly-scope said I had a larger than average spleen. Take that as you will.
Obviously I'll have to start a reward chart to motivate myself, preferably using shiny and/or scratch and sniff stickers, but the goal is to get me to fall asleep faster (it usually takes me anywhere from 45 mins to 2 hours to get to sleep) and keep me asleep throughout the night. I also asked her if she thought I should try melatonin. She then said she wasn't allowed to recommend any herbs or supplements over the phone... which made me want to say, "Then why the heck is this over the phone???" I was under the impression that that was what a naturopath does, recommend herbs and supplements. Apparently not the low-budget kind. Instead she told me that if I wasn't dealing with the stress in my life, it was going to break through the effects of the melatonin or whatever else I take. I chose to take that as a yes. The last thing the naturopath recommended was hypnotherapy. Somehow I think I'm going to have a hard time convincing my Christian peeps of that one.
Cow Face?

P.S. After my "session," a coworker at work said she thinks she talked to the same lady. The fact that everything she suggested to me she also suggested to my coworker could either mean those things work for just about everyone with sleeping problems, or that low-budget naturopaths only have so many resources in the ghetto. To figure out if it was the same lady I asked my coworker, "Did she use the funny noise in her car as an example of stressing over nothing?" Yes, yes she did. Mystery solved.


  1. I'd say to try a naturopath that doesn't limit themselves to only naturopathic medicine. Vancouver Island Naturopathic is just that, they recognize that sometimes, you need more then just the "natural" way. It's a healthy balance in my opinion and unfortunately it looks to me as though you were directed to a naturopath that is limited in their line of thinking and thus not as much help as they could be. Also, VIN asks what your religion/faith is and I think that does help them to understand your personal beliefs and morals better.
    I like that we have the option of someone other than our allopathic doctors and I think you just got the wrong end of the stick on this one.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion! Definitely agree that she seemed limited in her line of thinking. I'm definitely not giving up on naturopaths, but I think I just got what I paid for... as in I didn't have to pay... so...