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  • Writer's picturemichelledangmd

Integrative Medicine: Part 2

** INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE ** A few years ago, I was working in the hospital and feeling really burnt out and that I needed to further my education to find more passion in my work. I had completed my yoga teacher training but was unable to really incorporate that into my practice. I literally sat down and googled "fellowship" and "yoga" and "medicine". After a lot of reading and research, I found integrative medicine to be aligned with how I want to live and practice. Integrative medicine is "healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person, including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapies."

We look at mind, spirit, and body, and we combine conventional/traditional medicine along with alternative therapies in order to promote health, wellness, and prevention of disease. When I was going through some personal struggles and found yoga, there have been many occasions where - in my practice - I felt a huge emotional shift that was created by my breath alone. We hold many emotions/feelings within our body and that can be a cause of stress that can manifest itself in our body. It can present itself as insomnia, headaches/migraines, muscle aches/pains, stomach distress.

One particular instance I remember is being in savasana at the end of a particularly intense hot yoga session. I had pushed myself to every limit in class. Every uplevel? I did it. I nailed it. I was breathing so well, I was sweating like crazy. I was working through a lot of stuff in my personal life, but was constantly have problems with sleep and with headaches. As I was laying there in savasana, slowing my breath down, I felt this bubble inside my belly. I had closed my eyes by this point, but felt my eyes beginning to burn. Before I knew it, tears were rolling down my face and I felt my breath quicken. I slowed my breath down again and just let the tears happen and let that emotional release happen. I hadn't realized how much I was holding within myself and how much internal stress I was causing my body. That night, I slept so well. And I wanted more of that. A few months after that, I decided to go through yoga teacher training.

My point in telling my story is that there is no one answer to why people have diseases or illnesses or why people have the experiences that they do in their own lives. My hope with going through integrative medicine fellowship and having had the experience of over 7 years of being a physician is that I give my patients the tools to feeling better, to attaining whatever goals they want to achieve (losing those 20 lbs, or sleeping better, or managing their migraines). That's why I love integrative medicine - because it's not just physician centered. I don't write a prescription and give to the patient and say, you take this every day and it'll get rid of whatever illness you're experiencing (although in certain instances that is necessary too!); we work together as a team to figure out what's going on and what are some potential solutions and it's step by step to get there.

Thank you for reading my journey on here. I hope you continue to follow along as I share more about my passions!

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