It's when I first started working at the Medical Clinic here in Colorado. I saw many patients referred to me from the physicians and physician assistants at the clinic for Clinical Yoga Therapy treatments. In just one year, I saw patients who had been in and out of the medical system for more than two years. It was a revolving door for them. Constantly in and out trying to resolve their pain and their chronic conditions. Most of them were on at least five different medications. And for many of them, they had yet to find relief. Either their situation remained the same or it had gotten progressively worse.
It was the same story with every patient I saw. And later it was the same story with the clients I saw in my private Yoga Therapy practice. It was irritating that the system wasn't helping. It was keeping many of these people sick.
I believe Dr. Mitra Ray said it best in a seminar she spoke at here in Colorado last year. She said the western medical system is great for emergencies such as vehicle accidents, injuries and even surgeries. But it's not a great system for treating chronic conditions and for practicing prevention of disease.
It was in my MBA Health program I realized we have a sick care system. Not a health care system. The medical system is not designed to promote health and a high quality of life. And I keep being reminded of that every time I see my next client. I was especially reminded of that with my own history of chronic conditions, injuries and with my autoimmune disorder, Multiple Sclerosis.
It has unfortunately become the norm - visiting medical offices multiple times a year. It's as if we've become desensitized. The norm should be getting your Physical, Women's Annual Wellness Exams for women, getting your teeth cleaned and only going again on emergencies. That is actually supposed to be the norm. Instead there are many who live with chronic conditions who visit the doctor's offices, specialists offices and receive multiple examinations and tests throughout the year. I used to be one of those people. The medical system had become a revolving door for me. And when the medical system becomes a revolving door for anyone, there is a risk that the condition will worsen and I've seen many people turn to disability. Unfortunately disability doesn't offer enough financial assistance for self-care (lifestyle and wellness therapies). And so for many who are on disability - the condition worsens even more. At this point, it's an ugly vortex. Many people who are on disability are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Stuck between the chronic condition and not having enough finances to successfully manage the chronic condition.
I've seen patients and clients as young as 28, unable to live the life they want. I once met a young woman in her late 30's who told me her story about living with Crohn's disease since her early 20's. She was bedridden for more than two years and she wasted much of her 20's and early 30's being sick. Instead of going out on dates, traveling with friends, working hard in her dream career, she was sick in bed. The revolving door failed her. Thankfully she got the wake up call.
At some point of going around and around, stuck inside this revolving door, a lightbulb goes off where we ask ourselves, "What the heck am I doing?" When the system fails in providing relief and a high quality of life, what do you do? Thankfully as a health coach and a yoga therapist I knew what to do. I just got stuck inside the revolving door. It happens to the best of us. Thankfully the lightbulb went off in my head. I turned to wellness and lifestyle therapies such as changing my diet to a clean eating program, detoxing, consuming lots of high quality nutrition, practicing yoga therapy and getting my body stronger, massage, practicing energy meditation and other stress management techniques.
Once these lifestyle therapies became a habit for me, the revolving door finally stopped. I've seen the same result from clients, patients and even friends. And yes even that woman with Crohn's. Once she practiced self-care and lifestyle therapies, her life turned around. She is now in her late 30's and living life! Going hiking and bungee jumping and zip lining.
When this revolving door becomes the norm, it's time for a change. We have a bad habit (including me) of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And when the results are negative or there's no change, we continue to do the same thing hoping maybe it will be different the next time. I also found it interesting that the people who would stay stuck in this revolving door for more than two years would quit after a month or two of trying a natural, wellness or lifestyle therapy stating it didn't work.
Natural or lifestyle therapies such as changes in diet, nutrition, exercise, stress management etc. takes a minimum of four to six months (depending on the chronic condition) to see any positive changes. And then it takes about 1-2 years for those changes to result in living a high quality of life. So what is it about the medical system's revolving door that keeps us stuck and trying and trying, even if the result is mediocre and quality of life is either the same or worse? And why is it that with lifestyle therapies, we don't give it the same amount of time and effort to see changes? It's backwards.
So if you find yourself stuck in this revolving door, it's time to wake up and realize - it's not working and it's time for a change. As a health coach, it's my responsibility to tell you that the change needs to be an integrative approach. An integrative health program that involves healthy eating, a high nutrition whole food concentrated product like Juice Plus, yoga therapy, yoga, strength training and stress management techniques is the way to successfully manage chronic conditions.
And finally even though the medical system may not be working as successfully as one hopes, I still recommend speaking with your physician and specialists and involving them in the changes. I spoke with my neurologists and physician before starting my wellness regimen. I also spoke with them and received their okay before coming off all of my medications to start detoxing my body of the toxins. Never quit your medications cold turkey. I've seen negative side effects to that. Always speak with your doctor and involve them in your choices. And yes this is your life, your body, your brain, your mind. It's your choice.
Juanita Street is the founder, coach, and 200-hour certified yoga teacher with Street Coaching Group (SCG Health). Juanita also has an MBA in Health Administration degree from University of Colorado Denver. SCG Health offers online health programs and private health coaching (online) for people with chronic conditions and autoimmune disorders.