Ever burned your arm and wondered if you should put ice or cool water on it? Answer: avoid ice, and instead, hold the burn under cold running water. Do you have digestive issues and are curious if acupuncture could help? According to the Mayo Clinic's new book, " The Integrative Guide to Good Health,” acupuncture is an effective treatment for a variety of health issues, including digestion problems.
The Mayo Clinic's doctors Brent Bauer and Martha P. Millman compiled the new self-care book that addresses the health of the whole person to include mind, body, and spirit. Many of the strategies provided can be done in your own home on your own time, potentially keeping you from spending additional time in the doctor’s office.
Doctor Brent Bauer, Director of Research, Integrative Medicine and Health at Mayo Clinic, says the book "is for people who are looking to take charge of their health.” It blends the best of conventional medicine with the best of evidence-based alternative therapies and home remedies to give people options to transform their well-being.
As medical editor for “The Integrative Guide to Good Health,” Dr. Bauer offered three key takeaways that he hopes people come away with after reading the book.
“There are so many mixed messages out there,” says Dr. Bauer, and even more companies and "experts" trying to sell solutions. From diets to supplements to exercise programs, it’s hard to know which programs are legit and which ones are for you. “The book is an empowerment tool to cut through the noise and determine at a fundamental level, what you need to do to be healthy.”
The first part of the book covers integrative therapies like acupuncture, massage, and aromatherapy, in addition to mind-body techniques, herbs, and supplements. The second half includes home remedies for common ailments like PMS, jet lag, and colds. Research is given on each discipline, along with a red, yellow, or green light to indicate the level of comfort Mayo Clinic has in recommending the given practice. Bauer explains, “Green doesn’t mean everyone should do it. It means that evidence is strong that it’s generally safe, but it’s still good to sit down with your healthcare team to see if it’s best for you.”
Getting quality time with your doctor can be challenging for a variety of reasons. You may not always get the full education that you want in your doctor’s office.
"You can get a lot of information if you start with a reliable resource like this book, and then spring out into the web to find some more details on your specific situation,” Bauer says. And doesn’t have any issue with people doing their own online research, either; it shows that the patient is engaged, has ideas and wants to ask questions. “The informed patient or consumer is always going to be the better patient.”
3. Mind-Body Connection
“Most of us have heard to eat better and exercise. That’s been the mantra of conventional medicine for the last 40 years, but look at America. We ain’t looking so good. I think it’s going to come back down to the fact that most people’s brains are not engaged in the moment. They’re worried about tomorrow or what they said to someone yesterday or 10 years ago.”
There’s a dedicated section in the book on stress. It covers how stress affects the body and offers suggestions to alleviate stress. There are self-care techniques to try at home like guided imagery and music therapy, as well as other practices to look at releasing stress such as biofeedback and massage.
“We have all of this energy going around, on top of the bombardment from technology," says Bauer. "Every five seconds we’re looking at our phone. It’s an overwhelming assault on our attention and our ability to focus.”
“I’d love for people to walk away learning at least to prioritize a mind-body practice, not only for brain health but also for gut health. I’d consider that a win.”
Check out “Mayo Clinic The Integrative Guide to Good Health” here.
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