Speaking from experience, losing one’s health and finding it again is like going home; home to a familiar place that is warm and safe. Some will travel through the maze of illness several times in a lifetime. Some bouts will be more serious than others but you can be sure that each time we enter though the doors of illness we will learn new things about ourselves and our bodies.

Most go kicking and screaming, shouting about the unfairness of it all, but go we will. And each time is a testament to the endurance of the human spirit. None of us wants to be ill, so why not work to shorten that time and reduce pain and suffering. Why not work with more than one tool?

The world of medicine can be a confusing place for someone who is ill, if not down right frightening. Many believe that if traditional medicine does not have the answers no one does, and further more they have no desire to look else where for those answers.

For those that do decide to step out of mainstream medicine they will find there is no lack of various complementary medicine/therapies available. But where does one start? Without a guide, a teacher, or a professional you can be sure complementary medicine will be just as confusing.

It seems this new branch of medicine cannot even decide what to call itself. First it was alternative which no one seemed to like. Alternative implied a complete shift away from the known traditional. The traditional medical community labeled it as quackery and only further frightened patients. The most recent labels, integrative, holistic, complementary or blended medicine better imply how other therapies might fit with the traditional medical model of treatment. To supercede, interfere or over step the boundaries of the physician and the patients’ agreed plan for treatment will only undermine the hoped-for end result of returned health.

Illness does give rise to feelings of vulnerability and desperation and there are those that will play on those feelings. If you are about embark into the brave new world of complementary medicine make sure you have done your homework. If they promise you the moon do they have a shuttle sitting out side the door waiting to take you there? Don’t let a silver tongue over shadow intuitive feelings. Phony promises and false hope are painful lessons.

Having once stepped through the doors of serious illness and wondered if I would ever return, I would like to share with you some of the best pieces of advice I got along the way:

• Deal only with well-trained professionals. –Yours truly.


• Six weeks is long enough to try any new therapy. If it isn’t working it isn’t working, move on. –My personal physician


• We don’t always have the answers. I’m afraid I don’t have yours. But don’t give up. – Rheumatology physician, Mayo Clinic


• What are you willing to explore to be well? – My psychological counselor

• Dream big, you can always scale it down. – Morgan Eagle Bear, Native American Shaman.


Healing is like a journey home. Home to the heart where good things can and do unfold. To all my fellow travelers who have not as yet returned home, take heart, and do your best to keep the faith; healing will come.

Till next time, Rebecca.