A Note from Behind the Curtain

So many patients are looking for answers. As a doctor I know that the best answers are in each individual. Usually, we do not want to know the real answer. We want a pill, or a cream, or a smoothie containing the essential nutrients that will add up to the ultimate results. Dont get me wrong – products will help. Testing can uncover imbalances and deficiencies to be corrected and appropriate formulations to improve symptomology. However… until you are actually ready to change something – that thing- – which needs changing in your personal landscape, it is unlikely that you will find your own true answer to health. I will use myself as an example.

After I graduated from Naturopathic Medical School in 2000, I opened a clinic in downtown Toronto with some of my classmates. Over the next 12 years I developed my professional identity, grew my patient base, and pursued my personal passion of fertility medicine. I had a wonderful partner, a beautiful home and fantastic friends. I was never fully content, despite my abundance. I doubted my career and profession, and was constantly seeking something outside of myself to fill the inherent void. No amount of adrenal supplements, detox regimes or magnesium quieted the inner voice. This was not an organic condition, it was a calling that took me many years to acknowledge.

Eventually, I moved to Portland Maine in March 2011. I sold my clinic, left my clinic faculty position, and my sweetheart and I parted ways. Here, life is different. I smell the ocean every day. I do yoga (occasionally.) I walk the dog. I drink green tea. I am redefining myself as a Naturopathic Doctor and am inspired by the new turns my professional identity is taking. I am becoming a better doctor – the best version of myself. It has been a massively stressful process to redefine my life in my late 30’s. However – the gray hairs are worth the evolution. I am happy in a way I have never been. And it is not because my physical, emotional, or mental health has changed drastically. It is because I have found my own answer.

Not everyone’s answer will involve so many miles and such upheaval. The answer to your own health and wellness questions may simple or complex. Part of my job as a Naturopathic Doctor is to look beyond pills and dietary restrictions to see your truth behind your curtain, and support you in finding your own evolutions. If I can do it, I am sure to believe in you.

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Stress: Applied Physics

Stress =  Force/ Area

Think literally for a minute about your body as a solid object governed by Newtonian Physics. The body as an object seeks constant equilibrium, and often finds it. How can we aid our body in maintaining the balance essential to feeling good?

The equation above gives all the answers, in proper Newtonian fashion. Stress equals a Force that needs to be balanced over an Area large enough to balance it. The Area becomes the places that we can spread out the Force of Stress and diffuse the pressure of modern life. What are the Areas in your life you use to diffuse stress? Look to meditation, time alone, exercise, family, intimacy, sex, reading, massage, acupuncture, counseling, baths, yoga, vacation, down time, friends, nature, and journaling as potential areas to consider for this kind of equation. Wine/ beer/cocktails, pot, white powder drugs, valium, ativan, television and eating are also common “areas” used to relieve stress ~ but these all have additive and addictive elements that create additional stress in a cyclic fashion.

Sometimes a Force in our life suddenly escalates – while the basic life Stress and Areas we balance it with stay the same. This force acts like a nailgun driving the nail of stress into your health. Therefore, it is imperative in times of high stress like a family illness, death, marital problems, a significant move or an exam period to reduce the force of other stresses and increase the area to contain them! During these periods of spiked pressure, improving nutrition is an important way to decrease oxidative stress and add another area of health to your equation. Simple changes like reducing sugar and coffee and increasing green vegetables and whole grains will make a big difference in the way your body reacts.

We all have stress – it’s a fundamental component of life. Even on a desert island with perfect weather, abundant food and no work, stress would present (eventually.) We are made to withstand stress, and even thrive in stressful environments. But when the Force of Stress cannot be spread over a large enough Area, or when Stress escalates in addition to basic Forces, equilibrium is lost and physical, mental and emotional¬† health problems ensue.

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