A few years back, an osteopath broke me. Or, to be more specific, he failed to recognize that I was in the process of herniating a disk and instead listened for my long tide and other such rhythms in my body. By the next morning, I was in agony.
When I was pregnant with my first child, my midwife and doctor got into arguments about how to treat a potentially developing condition, leaving me to decide whether to go with heads or tails.
My regular massage therapist was away and recommended his colleague, who decided to start our first meeting with a long conversation about bowel movements and was I having three bowel movements as long as my forearm daily. I left the office soon after that, and washed my hands thoroughly.
So, you see, I'm a little wary of what I call voodoo.
At the same time, there was nothing better than midwife-supervised deliveries and aftercare; I've enjoyed acupuncture (ok, enjoyed might be pushing it) and have found that oil of oregano and tea tree oil are amazing cure-alls. I find I straddle the line between traditional and alternative medicine, and that the best way for me to sort it out is to listen to my gut.
And speaking of guts...
This spring, our daughter suffered from recurring stomach pain and vomiting. Our doctor was little help and we were at our wits' end.
Finally, I decided to break down and take her to a naturopath. I rolled my eyes. "They'll probably want to know if she's left-handed and what her birth was like."
Instead, we were ushered into a wood-paneled room where we sat on a couch and explained our situation to the woman who sat across from us. We left an hour later with three bottles of potion and a blood test for food allergies finished. "She seems more human than our doctor," was my daughter's comment, while I nearly cried with relief at finally being taken seriously by a member of the medical profession.
And I could have kicked myself - because this was anything but voodoo. It reminded me of my great midwife experiences and was like a cross between a doctor and a nutritionist. There was no mention of birth conditions or handedness.
The blood tests came back saying our daughter was reactive to sugar, wheat, dairy and peanuts. We were told we didn't have to read labels, but if a product contained obvious amounts of dairy -- cheese sauce, for instance -- or wheat, we were to provide alternatives. It's actually been surprisingly easy, particularly because on this elimination diet, our daughter feels like a million bucks. And the weekend she cheated, she felt horrible again.
This weekend, though, she leaves for a week at overnight camp. She packed all her clothes and books and stuffed animals days ago, but I'm still carefully composing lists for the camp cooks and nurse, and stockpiling safe and delicious foods for her to take. And I'm crossing my toes that all goes smoothly, that she doesn't end up in the nurse's office every night, wracked with stomach cramps. Because that doesn't make for happy camp memories.
At a family gathering the other day, someone rolled their eyes when I told them about our daughter's diet. "They tell that to everyone," she said. I know what it's like to be skeptical of alternative medicines - and sometimes with good cause - but at the same time, in this situation, I felt like the parents of the man whose blindness Jesus cured; when the Pharisees came to get their take on the situation, they said, in effect, "Here's what we know: this is our son. He was blind and now he can see."
It wasn't a voodoo experience. And it worked. That's good enough for me.