Jun 14, 2024

Naturopathy supports good health promotion and disease prevention with a holistic approach. Illustration by Gladdy Aguilera-Evangelista

It all started when I felt a dull bloating pain in my abdomen that comes and goes and is sometimes accompanied by diarrhea in between. I went to see my family doctor and she sent me to a series of lab tests- blood, urine, stool, and pelvic ultra-sound. The results came in and everything was fine. I should have felt relief, however, the same symptoms were still there.

My family doctor said, “Try to eliminate dairy in your diet and see if you feel better.”I did feel better.

I wanted to go back to my doctor and tell her of the improvement, but then again, I also wanted to say that I feel tired when I wake up in the morning and that I cannot function until I have my caffeine and sugar fix. I wanted to tell her that I feel overwhelmed at work even though I can do the job with my eyes closed. I wanted to stop thinking that something is wrong with me because I have the energy to still meet up with friends after office at night. I went home, got some sleep, and the cycle repeats.

Although my doctor had given me a clean bill of health, my overall “wellness” lay between the super healthy and super sick. I thought surely there is a better way to figure out why I am struggling. Does everyone feel that way or is it just me whining? This is where the naturopath doctor came into the picture.

In the Philippines, we can go to an “albularyo” or “manghihilot” to get rid of illness that traditional medicine cannot help. Naturopathy is not a buzzword there, as it is in Canada.

Naturopathy is a healthcare system that supports good health promotion and disease prevention based on a holistic approach.

In my first visit, my naturopathic doctor took a look at my health history. We discussed the physical, social and psychological issues that I experienced in the past years. The initial visit was followed by subsequent visits, undertaking a diet diary, and tests for stress, urine, blood and food sensitivity. The doctor’s goal was to help me find the root cause of my complaints and discover what other aspects of my body are contributing to the symptoms.

Eventually, I was able to uncover the root cause of my issues. I found out that I have “gut” problem caused by candida overgrowth. Candida is a fungus in the intestines that breaks down the wall of the intestine when overproduced. The toxic then penetrates the bloodstream that may lead to different health problems, from digestive issues to depression. I also found out that I have food sensitivity to dairy, cocoa, coffee and sugar cane. So I guess that explains my diarrhea when I eat something with dairy.

Another finding was adrenal fatigue. My adrenal glands are not functioning efficiently brought on by the high levels of stress I’ve experienced in the past years, i.e. immigrating to Canada and other major life changes. This explains my difficulty in getting up in the morning and my fluctuating energy levels throughout the day.

It sure sounded like I was a big mess but my naturopath provided me with a treatment plan. I understood that treating my conditions will not be as simple as taking a pill each morning. It will be a lifestyle change. Aside from the supplements that I have to take to detox my body, I also have to be mindful of what I put into it, what I think and how I feel.

My experience with naturopathy helped me to understand what was going on inside my body. I also realized that our mental and emotional experience affects our whole being, and negative experience manifests in physical illness sooner or later.

Remember, prevention is the key. It is important therefore to acknowledge what our body is telling us. Noticing what our body feels and knowing what we eat are a good start. We need to respect our body because we only have one. It is what carries us through life. Without proper nourishment and maintenance, how are we going to realize our Canadian dreams?

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Emmy Buccat is a donor relations professional at the University of British Columbia’s Development and Alumni Engagement office. She supports the communications, stewardship and events team in keeping donors informed, involved and engaged. She moved to Canada in 2008, bringing 10 years of experience in marketing communications, public relations and event management for brand FujiXerox and Speedo. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Santo Tomas, Asia’s oldest university, and a certificate in integrated marketing strategy from UBC’s Sauder School of Business.

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