Happy Thursday friends! And for me happy Cimzia Eve. Yup. Tomorrow is that lovely day of the month! I have been thinking about the content for this post for a lonnnnng time and finally am getting a chance to share. Ever since my diagnosis I have been searching for any treatment possible that does not involve stabbing myself in the stomach once a month (sounds simple but the shitty side effects are not my friends). I just have never liked the idea of being on so many medications when I know my body has the power to heal itself. Now I am not saying I don't need my biologic or my anti nausea or a Xanax here and there, but my goal is to eliminate as much extra crap from my body and let it do its job! I'm not one of those people who just goes off of every medicine cold turkey and lives happily ever after and I have never been, but hey, the more I can do to better my insides the better, right? Over time I have narrowed down some holistic things that have literally changed my life and my health. I know that the effects are different for every person but I figured I would share what has worked for me. If it works for you, great, if not, feel free to share what DOES work for you! Whether or not you suffer from chronic illness or not, these tips and remedies are great for anyone who wants to feel and function better. I also have proven to myself that these remedies actually help prevent or can get rid of any yucky sickness that you are coming down with. With cold and flu season upon us... you may want to listen up.
1. Time on the table
Yup. Time on the table. Acupuncture. I am hoping to replace one kind of needle eventually all the way, with another. I have been a lover of acupuncture since early college when I got sinus surgery and it failed miserably. And I ended up miserable. And unable to breathe. So I opted for some natural treatments at the Maryland University of Integrative Health including acupuncture and some herbal supplements. I legitimately almost got kicked out from living with some of my college roommates for brewing Chinese herb tea that stunk up the house for days if not weeks... I'm not kidding. So anyway, my first stint with acupuncture helped with my sinuses, my stress, and actually even the occasional hangover. Eventually I got more into the practice and was going on and off for the past four years or so. Recently I picked up going again and got really serious about it. My current practitioner is the coolest and we talk for hours about weird documentaries, GMOs, and how pharmaceutical companies are killing us....again, not kidding. Are you starting to realize how crazy I am? In addition to just being really freaking cool, she also has a way with the needles. I mean, she knows how to calm me when I'm feeling crazy, make my stomach stop freaking the eff out, and release anger that I have been holding onto. Over the years I have realized that my Crohn's gets worse when I am stressed out or holding onto unneeded emotions so I love the fact that acupuncture helps me not only with the pain management side of things but also the stress relief.
I know a lot of people don't believe in the power of acupuncture and let me tell you, at first neither did I. But when you have something completely change how you physically feel in two hours with needles and cups, it is a bit convincing. About the cups, yes I get those too and they help so much with my pain and the stress that builds up in my back. That is mainly from sitting all day at work though aka not Crohn's related.
Acupuncture is one of those things that I completely recommend to everyone just because I have seen the amazing effects not only that it has had on me but on others in my life who get it as well.
Here is some more information about acupuncture, cupping, and gua sha, all of which I highly recommend!
If you live in my area and have questions about my specific providers feel free to reach out via email and I will give you details.
So apparently according to WebMD "Researchers have discovered probiotic bacteria can influence the activity of immune cells and the cells that line the intestines,". But that is super basic and makes no sense to me or how it will impact my life. Honestly I did not understand what a probiotic was or how important they actually are until I was in the hospital on IV antibiotics for a week and experiencing some pretty nasty side effects. As someone who took over 20 years to get properly diagnosed, I have basically tried every antibiotic on the planet and experienced every shitty side effect. Probiotics actually prevent these from happening by adding the good bacteria back into your body that the antibiotics kill. I also realized that my own body was actually attacking my gut and all of the good bacteria in there. Clearly my body was not going to get it together and needed some help so I opted for some probiotic pills. I took these for a long time and still do here and there but now I make a huge effort to try an incorporate probiotics into my diet naturally. My favorite way to ingest all of those yummy little bacteria is kombucha!
Synergy is my personal favorite brand. They don't have crazy amounts of added sugar and the flavors are delicious. Sometimes I expand my horizons to other brands which also can be great but Synergy is just my tried and true. Mango and the Raspberry Chia are my flavor picks of the moment and can be found at Wegmans! They seem like they are a bit pricey but to me they are definitely worth the investment. You can buy them in bulk as well but beware, they can expire pretty quickly so be careful if you do get a bulk order to use them before they expire. You can also make your own kombucha but lets get real I am not at that point yet... maybe someday.
3. NATURAL ANTIBIOTICS
Lucky for me, I cycled through just about every antibiotic in my day and am at the point where I respond to just about nothing. The things I do respond to are so strong that they rip apart my stomach and cause me usually to end up in the hospital on IV antibiotic and a slow drip of Dilaudid. Obviously, I try to avoid that at all costs and the best way I have discovered is this natural antibiotic remedy that my acupuncturist told me about. I am kind of obsessed with it even though it tastes like total shit and makes you want to vomit. But I do it and let me tell you, whether it is a UTI or a sinus infection, this stuff will knock it out. I didn't believe this stuff actually worked until I was at my wits end over an obvious sinus infection and boom. I do this and and the next day I wake up feeling like a new person. Now it isn't always that quick as far as results and sometimes it takes more than one round but it freaking works.
Basically what I do is combine a bunch of chopped garlic, honey, and cayenne pepper into a cup and stir it until it looks nice and blended. Then I take spoonfuls of it intermittently with warm water to wash it down. I usually just eat enough until I feel like I might vomit and then I know it is enough. I know this sounds like I am being sarcastic here but I really am not. I actually do this.
4. YOGA AND MEDITATION
Recently I have incorporated a lot more yoga and meditation into my life and have noticed a significant difference in my mental and physical state. Physical activity is so important even when you feel like absolute poo. There are so many days where my body aches so bad that there is no way I am hitting a Barre class and you know what, I don't. What I do is at least get in a nice stretch, sun salutation, or hand stand sequence. Honestly, when I am feeling stressed out, I just chill out and do hand stands for a long time. My dogs come up and give me kisses while I'm upside down. Being inverted is pretty cool because you are so focused on holding your pose that you forget about the bad things like what is stressing you out at work or your chronic pains. That's how I feel about yoga as a whole. It helps you focus on your body and being one with it and not focusing on the pains but the things that feel good. As far as meditation, this one is a bit harder for me because my mind is CONSTANTLY going. It does help to just be calm and feel outside of my body for at least a few minutes morning and night. Meditation helps me focus inside myself and focus on what my mind and my body need. When I know what it needs, I can nourish it properly!
Excuse my rant, what I am trying to say is there are studies that prove that yoga can improve your immune system and meditation encourages self awareness and self acceptance, all of which are so important when dealing with chronic illnesses of any sort.
Check out this article for some quick and fun poses to help boost your immune systems for cold and flu season... HERE!
I hope this helps even a little bit and you can take my personal experiences as advice! As always, I am open to any and all feedback! Thanks again for supporting Crohnically Blonde.
Blonde babe. Maryland native. Crohn's crushing puppy mother to two sweet rescues.
Welcome to my unfiltered commentary on crushing chronic illness in your 20's and everything that goes along with that.