The Tao of Uprooting Lyme: Clinical Pearls From the Last 5 Years
2021 marks my 23rd year in clinical practice. For the first decade or so, I did my best to treat people with health problems that came with a label – cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety. Gradually, and especially after moving back to the Hudson Valley, NY, I began to treat more people with mysterious and unnamed / unnameable syndromes.
It’s unnerving to move from a state of “knowing” towards a state of not-knowing, especially when (or so I thought) a successful career / life meant accumulating more and more knowledge, answers and solutions.
You can imagine my discomfort facing patients in need, burdened by very real symptoms and disabilities, yet lacking a diagnosis and (more importantly) an understanding of what was going on, wanting to provide a clear path forward but not sure how.
The best I could offer was a devoted hand to hold while we felt our way together in the dark, hoping to find some clarity and direction that would initiate the healing process.
Fast forward many years:
A few days ago, a patient – who is also a Chinese Medicine practitioner by profession – asked, “Wow, how did you figure all this out?” After working together for several months, she had experienced the resolution or diminishing of many troubling symptoms, including autoimmune issues, heart arrhythmias, dizziness and fatigue. Her statement was quickly followed by, “Never mind – I’m just glad you did!”
Her remark made me smile because it’s sweet to recognize that by journeying with patients through dark territory over many years, even the mysterious and misunderstood can become more familiar, and result in usable knowledge.
Five years ago, I created the Holistic Lyme Practitioner Mentorship to train health practitioners in helping patients navigate through the murky waters of complex chronic illness. What follows are some clinical pearls gleaned from the careful guidance, experimentation and observation of many hundreds of people struggling with complicated and entrenched health problems, and the outcomes achieved when we implemented a healing approach that I call “Uprooting Lyme.”
- Life force energy flow is the lens through which we judge progress and interpret the effects of treatment.
Life force energy flow is a central concept to Asian medical traditions; it is what we experience in our bodies as “vitality.”
More than bloodwork, labs, or other diagnostic tests, what guides treatment is how the patient feels – the understanding that the body is a soulful storyteller that communicates through the language of sensation, feelings, and energy.
We seek to build a community of patients and practitioners wherein the top priority is the individual’s and the collective’s vitality. Connecting on this level helps us empower patients to plug into an inner strength and self-discovery that almost inevitably leads to significant healing, while also helping us align with our own greatest potential as practitioners.
2. People DO heal, and full reclamation of health IS possible.
Many people – both patients and practitioners – ask me: is it really possible to heal chronic Lyme? Can someone recover from severe or long-term chronic illness (autoimmunity or fill-in-the-blank)?
My answer is an emphatic YES, based on seeing hundreds of patients reverse complex infectious and inflammatory illnesses and find true healing – when they are fully committed to doing so.
Generally speaking, the biggest hurdles are (1) the mind and (2) our culture. What do we believe is possible? How committed are we (both patient and practitioner) to the process of healing? This is why we at Uprooting Lyme / Nourishing Life Health Center are brazen purveyors of HOPE.
3. What we let go of is as important as what we take in.
From what I can tell, life force energy flows best in spaciousness. It thrives on rest, sunlight, love, conscious breathing, movement, beauty, order, and simplicity.
In our culture, and in some circles of functional / integrative medicine, I see an obsession with superfoods, supplements, fads, and complex gadgets that we might think (or be advised) that we need in order to heal. It’s not uncommon that a new patient brings with them a list of dozens of supplements and medications that they are taking. Some of these items might be important, but too many things at once can work against what they’re trying to achieve.
If medicine offered an intensive evaluation and elimination of what diminishes life force energy as well as an understanding of what generates it – a focus on what blocks energy flow, as well as what frees it up – this might in itself solve many of our healthcare problems.
Complex chronic illness is, in essence, a problem of accumulation – of toxins, infections, parasites, mucous, food, waste, and more. There may be nutrient or other deficiencies layered in, but the bulk of the work is letting go: cleansing, crying, laughing, sweating, pooping, peeing, breathing, dancing, and singing. Through letting this energy flow, the body is nourished naturally by its own life force, and relies less on vitamins, supplements or special foods for energy and healing power.
4. Tune in to your body’s wisdom.
Many times I have been lucky enough to watch the process of a person “coming into” their body. This beautiful act is one of the gifts of conscious healing, made possible only by the seeming misfortune of stubborn health challenges. It involves building awareness of many things – feelings and sensations, as well as cause and effect (being aware of how you feel and what you attribute that to).
I like to help my patients understand the nature of the disease states they are dealing with, as well as how the therapies I recommend work. We often discuss how the practices and protocols I prescribe make them feel. Through this level of inquiry, patients develop a personal understanding of the dynamics that are occurring inside of them.
As we proceed along their healing journey, patients become incredibly wise and increasingly instinctive regarding what direction treatment should take, what foods they need to eat or avoid, and what dose of herbs is right for them. My job becomes much easier as their inner doctor awakens! This is a natural byproduct of holistic healing, and it is a promising sign that a full recovery is possible.
5. Your lifestyle IS the medicine.
I treat people of all ages who have developed chronic health problems mainly due to the accumulation of toxins and/or infections. I consider these two factors to be the primary drivers of almost all complex chronic disease states. Most people fall into these states unwittingly, not realizing they were at risk from a lifetime of exposures to common household chemicals (cleaners and body care products, for example), common infections (Lyme, Epstein-Barr virus, parasites), and suppressive forms of medication (antibiotics, antivirals, pain and anxiety meds) that combine and accumulate in the body throughout life.
Throw in some stress, hormonal imbalance, or over-consumption of inflammatory foods, and symptoms begin to manifest. The person realizes something is wrong, wants to fix it, seeks help, and discovers that their doctor doesn’t have much to offer.
Reversing chronic illness may involve opening to a whole new way of life, one that includes detoxifying the home, body, and life of many things that might be considered “normal,” but are not health-promoting. This can feel overwhelming, but all that’s required is taking one small step at a time.
Many of my patients fit loosely into this framework. Through following these principles, we discover that healing is possible. We take ownership of our health, rather than feeling like a victim of circumstances. We develop revitalizing routines of self-care and health generation that become a new way of life, one that not only reverses disease, but paves the way for longevity, deep healing, and future disease resilience.
Now I would love to hear from you. Do you have questions or a clinical pearl of your own to share? Let us know in the comment box below!
Want to hone your ability to heal complex chronic illness?
2021 Holistic Lyme Practitioner Mentorship
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
5:45 – 6:45 PM ET
Online via Zoom
The Holistic Lyme Practitioner Mentorship is the only in-depth practitioner training in the holistic treatment of Lyme and complex chronic disease.
Register HERE to learn about joining our community of practitioners who are leading the way in healing naturally from complex illness. Together, we’re redefining what’s possible for our patients.