The term “holistic medicine” has been in common usage by a wide variety of practitioners for the past several years. Holistic medicine by definition should address all aspects of health and wellness…the whole person, body AND mind. We here at ilumina pride ourselves with offering truly holistic health care for women.
Many practitioners have the first part, the body, covered fairly well. To be sure, most patients relate their problems as physical symptoms, so it should not be surprising that most therapies are directed toward decreasing these symptoms. However, a quick internet search on the symptoms of depression and anxiety will quickly reveal that physical symptoms such as headache, fatigue, abdominal distress, and muscle pain are among the psychological symptoms. The reverse hold true as well: many medical conditions are associated with or exacerbated by psychological symptoms. Focusing on women’s health issues, fertility issues, menopause, pregnancy, and, of course, PMS are often a combination of both mental and physical complaints. For example, it is generally accepted that stress, depression and anxiety can exacerbate infertility and vice versa. The reason for this has a lot to do with female hormones and the natural fluctuations that occur throughout a woman’s lifetime. Fluctuations in testosterone, estrogen and progesterone have been shown to affect levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, GDNF, and GABA, brain chemicals that have been linked to anxiety and depression and medications that affect serotonin levels in the brain can impact hormones levels, a common avenue for therapy.
Menapausal Mood Swings
The first step in finding relief is getting a clear diagnosis and, therefore, a treatment plan that is most likely to help each individual’s specific concerns. Mental health, like physical health, is a multifactorial issue and, as such, several underlying conditions need to be ruled-out prior to coming up with an accurate diagnosis. Physical exam and a detailed interview regarding diet, lifestyle, stressors and past history is vital. Laboratory testing may be necessary to rule-out hormone or nutritional imbalances that may contribute to symptoms. This process may take a couple of appointments, but in the interim, acupuncture and herbs can be started to help alleviate symptoms.
Chinese Herbal Formulas
Diet & Lifestyle
Vitamins & Nutraceuticals
Finally, we offer a variety of treatments here at ilumina based on diagnosis, symptoms severity and patient preference. As mentioned above, acupuncture, herbs and supplements have evidence to support their use and may be helpful in improving quality of life. Medications, if needed, are available and may be an important adjunct while diet, lifestyle and other changes are being made. Referrals for therapy and psychiatric evaluation may be useful for some patients and we are always happy to coordinate with these providers. Finally, meditation has been shown in several studies to help decrease depression and anxiety and we can help direct you in adopting a daily practice that meets your needs.
In closing, we here at ilumina want to help each woman improve all aspects of her health, that includes taking a truly holistic, proactive approach to the prevention and treatment of disease and promotion of optimal physical and mental health.