Our long-awaited attendance at our first LAMposium was truly an experience to remember. Being a loved one of a woman with LAM and a physical therapist, I appreciated the uniqueness of coming together as an entire community including women with LAM, loved ones, medical/research professionals, and LAM Foundation leadership all under one roof.
And the first day taught me much more than the knowledge and expertise shared by the variety of presenters. I learned that women with LAM and their loved ones are a passionate and engaged group full of amazing stories of perseverance that have created an ever-so-supportive community of hope.
To honor women with LAM, I have summarized the presentation that I gave during LAMposium 2022 on Complementary Health. In his presentation at the conference, Dr. Joel Moss of the National Institutes of Health reiterated the importance of personalized healthcare. As a 20+ year clinician, I can assure you the opportunity is abundant for you to enhance your well-being.
Seek the path that demands your whole being. RUMI
My intention here is to leave you inspired, curious and hopeful, whereas you take knowledge and turn it into ACTION and expand your healthcare team.
Complementary medicine can be synonymous with integrative, alternative, or functional medicine, as they all have a client-centric paradigm that Dr. Moss spoke to. I’ve created a framework to help you decide what is right for you:
3 M’s of Complementary Medicine
Energy Work / Reiki
Mind/Body – ANYONE can start here! Skill acquisition thru learning. Find your guide.
Manual Modalities – More passive (you receive the work). Comfortable with gentle touch.
Movement – A bit more active and requires some space even with programs at home.
General Benefits of Complementary Health
- Stress Reduction
Stress stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, causing a surge of natural stress hormones (think: epinephrine and cortisol) in the bloodstream, which can negatively affect the body across many of its systems (vascular, respiratory, digestive, etc.) When the body and mind are calm however, whether through meditation practice or other techniques, the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated, causing the body to stop releasing stress hormones. Thus, you are lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen consumption, which results in higher energy levels and better immunity and sleep.
- Pressure Systems and Mechanics of Breathing
Human anatomy is beautifully integrated, which allows treatments addressing associated structures to the lungs, trachea, and diaphragm to balance the pressure gradients of the thorax and abdomen. This can be seen in improvements with FEV1, FVC (amount of air you can exhale), and Tidal Volume measurements on your pulmonary function tests.
- Fluid Dynamics and Detoxification
The lymphatic and vascular systems influence on oxygenation capacity/gas exchange in addition to possible edema when deficient both have impact on heart rate and blood pressure. Gentle and precise work to the structures of these delicate systems can have a significant impact on energy and overall health.
Each specific treatment technique has its own benefits that exceed the scope of this discussion due to their extensive nature. But knowing that there is even greater potential to impact your health, I imagine that a few of the techniques and benefits have sparked some interest so the natural question is how do I get started? Here’s a few recommendations:
Where to Start
Find a qualified professional:
- Start within, meaning existing professionals in other arenas of your care team, friends/neighbors, community boards in health food stores/studios, local hospitals
- Contact national organizations focusing on complementary medicine
Evaluate their credentials:
- Certifications / Training
- Years practiced
- Describe their modality and how they integrate it into a session
- Type of clientele they work best with
- Do they also receive the work? Practice themselves?
Make it a healthcare habit:
- A core component of health is the active role of the patient in developing and carrying out their personal treatment plan.
- Take your health into your own hands, to accept responsibility for the psychological, social, and lifestyle changes required to improve your health and well-being.
- Integrate the mind-body medicine practices part of your daily routine.
- When you make meditation or movement a priority, you’re establishing a healthcare habit, which can have lasting positive effects on your longevity and quality of life. You wouldn’t skip regular showers. Think of meditation as a shower for your mind.
One last point to share, there was tremendous attendance during our breakout at LAMposium, in which the majority of the participants were actively working in one or more of these techniques, so reach out to members of your region for support in how to take the steps to make a difference in your health in 2023!