Choosing both medical and integrative approaches

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As a holistic health coach, I am blessed to be part of a large and vibrant community of progressive-thinking folks. I have learned a tremendous amount about nutrition and ultimately about wellness from my training and experience. In fact, it’s this kind of naturally-based healing/health that I have focused on my whole life.

Many years ago I was a leader for Weight Watchers … my first experience with “diet” and nutrition programs. I’ve done yoga for years, and spent a lot of time at gyms working out before that. I’ve had acupuncture. I’ve trained in Reiki and receive it regularly. I’ve received other types of energy healing regularly for years. I’m a massage therapist who depends mightily on a weekly massage (and have for 6+ years). I love having green smoothies and shopping at my local farmers’ markets. I believe in the power of prayer. And for the most part, I’ve always tried a lot of natural healing methods before turning to medical care.

And despite all this stuff … the RA symptoms started. Reiki and massage didn’t help (although they certainly didn’t make anything worse). I tried to keep eating healthy, but my ability to exercise became severely limited. I had to cut my work schedule back by 20% to keep the incredible pain in my hands at bay. Symptoms didn’t get better when I wasn’t working either. Weight gain ensued … and it was all depressing. I hung in there with the natural healing methods as best I could, but I knew it wasn’t going to be enough. I’d reached a fork in the road.

Choose left or right?

It was time to pursue medical diagnosis and treatment. You’ve read about that process here on the blog, so I won’t repeat it. But let me summarize the results: I feel a thousand percent better! Practically my old self. I continue to pursue all my natural health and wellness methods, which support the medical process that keeps me going.

What I discovered is that it isn’t a fork in the road, but a new path. I don’t have to give up the things that have always helped me. I don’t have to feel guilty about getting the medical treatment I need to be well. In fact, my rheumatologist has been pretty darn impressed with my incredibly low inflammation levels. The other RA indicators are still positive, but my liver is processing the meds in the healthy way and my overall symptoms feel mostly under control.

So for those who might judge because I’ve chosen to integrate these (sometimes opposing) paths … take a walk in my shoes before you tell me I’ve done myself wrong. And remember, I wear mostly “sensible” shoes now … not the beautiful higher heels of my youth. So it may not be as easy or much fun to be in my shoes … but I’m happy here. Isn’t that what life is all about?

**This blog post is part of a larger Blog Carnival organized by Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior, Kelly Young. Please visit the other posts as well … this carnival’s topic is “Resistance to Rheumatology Treatment”**


  1. Paul
    Feb 28, 2011

    Thanks for posting this. My shoes are usually worn on the other foot, try medical treatment first and then an integrative approach. Nature’s kitchen has lots on the menu and many synthetic drugs are a spin off from natural products with an emphasis on improvement & reliability. What is a good life style for the majority may not necessarily be best for an individual and perhaps it is more important to have a better understanding of what one is actually doing or undertaking. You appear to have found a good balance, well done & good health.

  2. Danielle
    Mar 2, 2011

    I have heard many people say basically the same thing- that they have tried many natural attempts and it has done nothing. I have always believed in many of the same things as you, but it’s always nice to hear both sides. I was truly hoping that would be all that it would take for my girl. We tried giving her liquid oxygen, also. Remicade & Methotrexate sure work a lot better, I hate to say. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Young Wife
    Mar 2, 2011

    I’m so glad you’re feeling better! Loved this post.


  1. Resistance to Rheumatology Treatment: Blog Carnival #3 | Don't miss this! | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior - [...] of This Luscious RA writes about why she is “Choosing both medical and integrative approaches.” She tells her story…

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