As a child, I was fascinated by how innate objects, like a TV or radio worked. Seeing the outside of these objects just made me more curious to understand what it was on the inside, allowing these items to function. I now have this same fascination about the human body. While in medical school, I was taught about each organ system one by one. It was awe inspiring to piece together all the enzymes, receptors, and signals the body produces, normally, without a hitch. But what truly makes the body work?
Having graduated first with a chemistry degree, I understood that each cell in the body, of which there are an estimated 720 trillion cells, contain chemical energy and frequencies allowing us to function from a microcosm level.
In the 1950’s, with the discovery of DNA, the understanding around health was our genes, with its codes and signals, predetermined health outcomes. Now, fast forward to today and the discovery of epigenetics teaches us about the importance of the cell environment and how it is equally as powerful in determining health. This cell environment consists of very intricate organelles within the cytoplasm which is made of 60% water. The integrity of our cells, in large part, is made of various proteins, fats, DNA and other building blocks. These cell components are bathed in the cytoplasm. The cytoplasm is impacted by the external environment and by what we put into our bodies.
However, the truly fascinating area of epigenetics is how our thoughts, our beliefs, and our experiences shape us and impact our cells and overall health. In the late 1990’s, studies were published about the health implications of adverse childhood events. Drs and researchers began to make connections of children who suffered trauma to adults who were morbidly obese. Others began to research the effects of childhood trauma on other long-term health outcomes. This produced what is now referred to as the ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Events) and an ACE Score. The CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study) uncovered a stunning link between childhood trauma and the chronic diseases people develop as adults, as well as social and emotional problems. This includes heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes and many autoimmune diseases, as well as depression, violence, being a victim of violence, and suicide.
Most people are aware of how mental health can be a driver for poor physical health, but our current medical system compartmentalizes mental health as if it is disconnected to our bodies. How often does a psychologist consult with a primary care doctor to work synergistically for a patient? It doesn’t seem to be common practice.
It is time to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. Human beings are not just the sum of their cells. Naturopathic doctors are trained in the behavioral sciences and counseling. This allows us to harness the innate healing power within our bodies, using the gentlest methods possible, and as we work to discover with the patient the root causes of illness, quite often we discover a mental/emotional picture acting as an obstacle to care. Addressing this root often leads to whole body transformational care.
This piece, of the larger puzzle, containing the mind and emotions is a powerful, often fundamental piece, that has too long been overlooked and pushed aside by only focusing on organ systems and laboratory results. We don’t discount any of the pieces but rather intricately work at putting all the pieces together. Naturopathic doctors can help fill this gap to round-out the multifaceted needs of our current society.
Come, experience the difference. Schedule your Naturopathic Consulting appointment today.
Dr. Sonia places a strong emphasis on mental health in her time with her clients. Even during her naturopathic medical training, her compassion to improve the mental health status of people was evident. Despite semesters packed with 19-21 credit hours, she was instrumental at working towards improving mental health support at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). As a result of her efforts, a new initiative called Empower Me was launched to provide students with 24/7 access to mental health practitioners via telemedicine. She went on to become the President of the Naturopathic Student Association and continued her efforts to discuss the detrimental results of burnout on mental health. Much of her efforts and work with improving mental health provides her with a strong understanding to use her training with clients.