As a GP, I get many patients saying they feel weak and fatigued but without any obvious medical reason. That’s what I call a ‘lifestyle problem’ – it has a major impact on a person’s life and well-being, but doesn’t show up on standard medical blood tests or investigations. The symptoms are certainly real, yet there’s no conventional treatment for them. I’ve seen patients in tears as they were so physically exhausted they couldn’t look after their children or get up for work in the mornings.
It was terribly frustrating for me to see my patients in such distress without knowing how to do anything about it. So when I came across integrative medicine by chance I knew my calling was to train as an integrative medical doctor. Integrative medicine is a commonly used approach in the USA and Australia, and is even taught in the medical schools and available on the health insurance policies of those countries. Integrative medicine was not taught to me in medical school. In general, integrative medicine uses the best of Western and Eastern medicine combined and provides a truly ‘whole-istic’ health care approach – looking at the whole person. I look at those niggly little symptoms that a person may be experiencing and find a way to restore the balance to the body before those symptoms accumulate and turn into an illness or disease. As one of only ten such qualified expert doctors in the UK, I work with many private clients to help them achieve an optimum level of health. This involves a full and comprehensive consultation where I look at the individual as a ‘whole’, including all the factors contributing to their health and well-being. Unlike some regular GP’s, I’m not satisfied with the mere absence of ill health, particularly when my patients continue to feel unwell. My passion is to empower individuals to take control of their lives, to prevent illness and regenerate their health and well-being. Part of my role is to examine nutrition, fitness, stress, chemical imbalances, hormone imbalances, digestive health and toxicity in the body.
Your health is a combination of four key areas
In my experience, you can not achieve total health unless you look at a combination of exercise, nutrition, managing stress and cutting out vices. For example, you can eat really healthily, go to the gym five times a week and do yoga for your stress, but if you drink like a fish or smoke you simply can’t achieve total health. If you don’t smoke or drink, eat well, manage stress but do no exercise you also can’t achieve optimum health. Likewise, if you’re a gym bunny and not stressed, don’t smoke or drink but live on junk food you won’t be fully healthy either. All four of these areas need to be met to achieve total health.
Remember: sugar is a vice that’s as bad as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption and needs to be managed and restricted in the same way.
Work on the 70/30 rule
If you are ‘good’ and eat well, exercise and manage your stress for 70 per cent of the time then your ‘well-being bank balance’ will stay in the black. This is equivalent to looking after yourself for five days a week so that for the other two days you can have a takeaway, some wine, cake or chocolates. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? It’s about balance, and looking after your health but not making it into a chore. I genuinely believe that if you look after your health extremely well 70 per cent of the time then it doesn’t matter what you do for the remainder, within reason, so you can let your hair down and relax.
Keeping your body moving is the best way to keep feeling full of vitality, energy and life. The World Health Organization recommends doing half an hour of exercise, five days a week. This is a good start. Keep moving, even if it’s only walking. It’s beneficial to try and get a balance between cardiovascular exercise and core exercises that work on posture and balance, such as yoga and pilates. Even going for a walk contributes to your fitness and has the added bonus of getting out in the fresh air.
Spend time every day relaxing and de-stressing, even if it’s only for 10 minutes a day. Remember to keep up with your relaxation and breathing exercises. Spending time doing anything you enjoy is always beneficial and not self-indulgent. So make time to read a book, treat yourself to a massage, have a relaxing bath or go dancing! Remember that when you’re happy and free from stress, you’re functioning optimally to give your best to others so don’t ever feel guilty about it.
In addition to eating well, exercising and taking supplements, you may need to consider other factors as there may be other influences that drain your energy. For example, your body may need extra help dealing with pollution, or you could be reacting to the chemicals you use in your home, body products or on your clothes. Next, consider the psychological and emotional energy drainers in your life. These can be in the form of people who are negative and bring you down, your job, or focusing on what you lack in life rather than what you have. When you are in a difficult situation it’s a major drain on your natural energy.
Try to take small steps to resolve the problems you’re facing by either resolving each one or, if this is not possible, reframing them in a different way. For example, if you don’t like your job, remind yourself it pays for you to do fun things at the weekend and take lovely holidays. If there’s someone draining in your life try to take a step away from them, or minimise your time with them, but if it’s not entirely possible, feel thankful that they’ve taught you patience and tolerance and are making you a better person.
Find out more about Dr Sohere Roked…
Dr Sohère Roked is a general practitioner with a specialist interest in integrative medicine, she is one of the UK’s leading holistic doctors. Dr Roked has extensive knowledge of both conventional and holistic medicines and combines the two for the best possible improvement in her clients’ health. Her NHS experience made her realise what was lacking in conventional medicine, such as nutritional and lifestyle advice and how to empower people to take control of their own health.
Keeping your body moving is the best way to keep feeling full of vitality, energy and life.
You can now buy Sohere’s book – The Tiredness Cure on Amazon. Or visit her website at www.holistic-doctor.co.uk