Family Wellness: The Role of Preventative Medicine
Wellness includes both our physical and emotional health. Family wellness is a term used to imply that each family member’s health affects the other household members. When a child is sick, parents may miss work, lose sleep, or rushing off to care for their child they may skip meals. When a parent is sick either with an acute or chronic health issue the children also feel this stress, lack of attention, and disruption of routines. Either way, stress levels in the household can rise exponentially when illness of any kind presents itself.
It is a teamwork effort to create and maintain strong constitutional health so that everyone in the family benefits. From the Chinese Medicine perspective, wellness is making daily dietary, exercise and lifestyle choices alongside other good health practices that nourish and strengthen the body. Cultivating daily wellness is in fact, nurturing the protective garden of our immune defense system. Did you know that a significant part of our immune system lies in our guts? The health of our gut determines what nutrients will be absorbed and assimilated and what toxins, allergens, and invading microbes will be eliminated. Eating a plentiful variety of vegetables, fruits and whole, unprocessed foods is effectively fortifying our immune systems. Thus what we eat becomes step one in preventative medicine.
Similarly, preventative medicine is managing stress, as chronic stress weakens our immune system as a whole, disturbing gut health, sleep, blood sugar balance and blood pressure to name just a few of the systems affected. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can be an essential tool in nurturing and maintaining the rich garden of your immune health. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can boost immunity, minimize side effects of stress, promote relaxation and restful sleep, manage allergies, speed the healing time of injuries and post surgery recovery, and lend support to the fight and prevention of frequent colds and flues. Essentially preventative medicine is the key to family wellness, and Chinese Medicine can be a useful tool in supporting the health of the whole family.
Additional ways to counter stress include: exercising 3-5x per week for 40min each workout, getting an adequate, restful night’s sleep, receiving a foot or whole body massage, having a therapeutic movement practice (yoga, Tai Qi, Qi Gong, Dance), and taking walks out in nature. Equally important is allowing time for stillness and quiet relaxation, meditation, or simply allowing yourself “unplugged” time to sit for a cup of tea.
How does one balance the needs and busy family life with making choices that support everyone’s well being? A cold or flu that hits one family member can potentially spread to all in the family, and thus it becomes everyone’s responsibility to support healthy choices. Make healthy whole foods, exercise, adequate rest and lifestyle choices a family matter. When it comes to keeping the whole family well all of these choices matter. Consider including acupuncture and herbal medicine to support your family wellness regime and enjoy the seasons of optimal family health.