Lately, I find myself balancing the value of specialising further in medical gynaecology versus the more natural or holistic side of healing. I repeatedly find that the really true and important aspects of healing, for my personal role in facilitating healing is the influence of our lifestyle, the role of our mind and heart in our physical health and wellness. I realise that these 10 things are some of the most important parts of women's healing to me – personally as well as in my practice and conversations with women.
These 10 points are generally lacking in medical training and probably will not be covered in a general gynae consult where a woman may be coming in with any range of basic gynae symptoms or issues. (Of course some may be mentioned or touched on and some more holistically minded gynaes may elaborate on them. But - generally not.)
Yet I place them as MOST IMPORTANT!
So, I find myself reflecting on this often and reaffirming my personal resolve again and again. As dedicated to improving women's health care and wellness, and therefore listening to the needs and stories of women, their health, their challenges and their healing.
When I count the important aspects of women's health and wellness – on a primary care level, on a preventative and maintenance level – these are the things which come to mind. And to be honest not ONE of them is taught at medical school. Some get a mention with limited scope and normally a referral to another department.
I truly do think that these are the aspects lacking and the most important aspects of women's whole healing. Even when there are bigger illnesses going on, bringing the following into awareness, balance and attention will bring along a sense of peace, harmony AND healing!
Each point has at least one expert reference for you to read more on for information and practical application.
SELF-ACCEPTANCE – SO much of women's health is affected by the feelings and messages we impose on ourselves. The knowledge and scientific data growing on the mind body connection, how our self-talk may define us, our past experiences going back to the womb even - are becoming more and more known and incorporated into holistic whole healing practices.
2.Our WOMB HEALTH carries STORIES; our biographies that affect biology. The power of woman circle gatherings and red tents where women gather and share our stories is revealing a profound healing on many levels. We all have a story to share. Owning our femininity and loving our bodies can be a difficult and reflective process to healing.
3.NUTRITION NUTRITION NUTRITION ! This covers about 20 reasons or more itself! For example - the role of caffeine, alcohol, balanced meals, protein, greens, organic food, plantbased diet, food on the run, diets... Holistic nutrition, understanding the quality and the type of food we are eating and how it affects us - can be a complete template for healing our bodies AND our mind itself.
4. FERMENTED FOODS – the role of our gut flora in our overall and our vaginal health including candida, uti's and other infections. This is becoming more and more known, taught and accessible especially in the integrative medicine circles. It is now known that your microbiome environment is formed while you are still in utero! And that these affects are shown in neuro, endocrine and gut health and illness. While you can take probiotics to certainly help retain a balance - fermented foods are full of the good flora too. Different ones have different benefits.
5. Your INNER VOICE: Denying your intuition and your inner higher voice can cause blockages, weakened immunity and health problems. This is a big and powerful lesson to learn! Your intuition is a very powerful and true tool to use for your own health, wellness and peace of being. YOU own an important skill and taking time to listen to your gut instinct, your inner wisdom, your true knowing - you can decipher what decisions, choices and journeys are useful for you at this time.
6. Exercise, core strengthening, pelvic floor strengthening, balancing and mobility. There are so many ways to stay fit and keep your muscles and body healthy with exercise. Stamina, balance and flexibility are important too. The benefits of yoga, swimming, walking and dance are amazing! Find a way to exercise that suits you! PS Bellydancing was created for pregnant mothers! PPS Using a yoni egg is incredible for intricate pelvic healing and strength.
7. SELF CARE – do you have regular scheduled time for yourself? When you can do something to simply refuel your body and your mind? A massage, a walk on the beach, time out with friends, time to meditate, nap, sip tea.... This is an essential part of refilling our jug so we can keep giving...This cannot be emphasised enough. As women we tend to serve others needs. As mothers time is very rare. However taking time to care for yourself and nurture your own loves, passions, body - with time alone, time to care for yourself - will help you be an even better mother and wife! Scheduling regular time off to do something you love and can relax too is an important part of refueling your jug and taking time to destress.
8.SLEEP. Without sleep our neuroregulation, our bodies start unwinding. Regular good sleep everynight is part of bringing our bodies and selves into a healthy balance. Do you struggle to get to sleep? Do you wake up often in the night? Do you wake up in the morning feeling tired? These problems are so common. Our lives are so busy and overstimulation so easy that at night it can often be tricky to let ourselves unwind and still our mind. We may go over and over things that worry us in our mind. How many times have I written letters in my mind to people who have upset me - at 2am! We all need sleep and the healing affects even for a common cold are exceptional and very apparent!
9. HERBS and PLANT BASED HEALING. The role of herbs is a long story in the history of women's health. As I learn more about the value, role and help that herbs and plants can do to assist our female bodies into health and our minds into wholeness I become more and more convinced about the need to use this knowledge! I enjoy working with herbs as their tends to be an innate wisdom that supports our bodies into balance and holds our bodies needs during stress. As they are part of nature, they can nudge us back into our natural flows and cycles that are intricately intertwined with nature too. So saying, it is always prudent to be aware of any side-effects and contra-indications especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding - or work with a qualified herbalist or naturapath.
10. Our connection to the MOON AND OUR CYCLES. We are not linear. We are expected to function as linear in society but we are deeply cyclical in nature. Our menstrual rhythms, our emotional rhythms, our hormonal rhythms are in tune with a higher Mother Nature – the seasons, the moon. We cycle. And this needs to come into awareness and be celebrated for the treasures of insight, power of reflection, empowerment and intuition this carries. Applying this knowledge into our daily and monthly awareness can have deep and very practical healing and peace.
As I was experimenting with googling key words like "women's health tips" I found most articles fairly superficial in their deliverance and most with a very striking and slim young lady as the image.
I was disappointed....I am sad when women's inner callings, inner drive and search for balance and wholeness becomes implicated in symptoms that are medicated. There is a place for medicine too but there is for sure a problem of overmedicating and over medicalising dis-eases and symptoms that are crying out for something else.
So although I value the surgical and prescriptive skills of the expert gynae, I will choose to humbly heal with heart and share this with other women in this way.
If you enjoyed this blog you may enjoy this one on IMMUNE HEALTH too.