The power of intangible medicine, and the patient-provider relationship
In my previous private practice, I specialized in supporting women through pregnancy and infertility. As such, when I found myself wanting to conceive, I began applying what I knew to my own body. I gave myself acupuncture, prescribed myself Chinese herbs, performed Maya abdominal massages, ordered my own lab tests, and discontinued certain supplements and skin products I was using. Knowing that stress often resulted in delayed conception, I also did what I could to relieve the pressure that the unknown places on women during this period, so I slept 8 hours each night, meditated each morning, and purchased ovulation strips and pregnancy tests in bulk (so as not to feel anxiety about running out of supplies). I was grateful to find myself pregnant in our fourth month of trying.
Marching into my first trimester, I continued my practices, but was surprised to find I was not immune to the symptoms that accompanied pregnancy. I naively assumed that with all my knowledge and experience, I could outsmart feeling pregnant, and waltz my way through all 9 months feeling amazing until the day I meet my baby girl, emerging the divine mother archetype. All in all, my pregnancy has been easier than many, as I've been able to apply the medical tools I've learned on myself. However, my type A personality and "I can do it all" attitude hasn't necessarily been serving me. I've come to realize that by trying to take care of myself all by myself, I've been missing out on the gifts a wellness support team can offer. Part of becoming a mother is learning to surrender, and receiving healing gifts from others is a profound act of self-love and surrender.
So, nearing the end of my 1st trimester, I decided to bring others on to my healthcare team. I still wanted to provide myself my own Chinese medicine, but I began craving the gifts others could provide. I took a zoom yoga class (rather than just me in my living room making it up). I signed up for prenatal massage. I interviewed and hired a doula. I joined an online women's community and support group for mothers expecting during COVID. And with these small shifts, I found myself opening up for the next chapter in a way I couldn't in isolation. While it was easy to see myself through the medical lens, and offer remedies, I was missing the gifts that being nurtured by a wellness team provides.
Some parts of medicine are objectively about the medicine itself. But some parts are about the unseen healing that happens from developing a relationship with the individuals in which you are entrusting your health. We are multifaceted beings with physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies, and all parts of ourselves require attention and support to feel truly well.
So if you aren't feeling as well as you know is possible, ask yourself which of these bodies is lacking attention? Could your physical body benefit from better nutrients, exercise, or rest? Could your emotional body receive receive greater connection? Could your mental body be capable of greater creativity? Could your spiritual body experience greater peace?
And then ask yourself- is this something I can do on my own? Or can I enjoy a greater life experience if I have support with this aspect?
We don't need to do it all alone. And we don't need to rely on the traditional model of expecting one physician to have the answer for all our ailments. Humans are complex, and the more support we allow ourselves to receive, the more we can expect our body to provide for us in return.
As I'm leaning into creating my own team of wellbeing providers for the remainder of my pregnancy, I am inspired by the ways in which I can support the physical and energetic healing of patients that commit to their health by stepping into my practice. Just as I am honored to receive care from other professionals, I am honored to have the tools to be a provider for others dedicated to their own health and vitality, and to work alongside an exceptional team of integrative medicine providers at SF Advanced Health
Wishing you the greatest Health and Wellbeing!