In college, i took this class called Sociology of Health & Wellness. Dr. Finnegan Alford-Cooper, a professor i will remember for the rest of my life, opened my eyes to the medical model of illness. She challenged our narrow-minded, privileged perspectives to be more open to Eastern medicine philosophies (and less trusting of the Western medicine that we are all trained to automatically invest our time, beliefs, and money in). Don’t get me wrong; i am still a product of this society. My six-tiered medicine cabinet is clear proof of how quick i am to pop a prescription or over-the-counter pill any time an ailment appears at an inconvenient time. However, i recognize that the way our society handles sicknesses and overall health creates … well … MORE sickness and LESS health. I also know better than to automatically turn my nose up at naturopathic, homeopathic, and holistic remedies. That college class opened my eyes, but personal past experience has shown me that naturopathic medicine can provide authentic, complete healing in times when all my “regular,” covered-by-insurance doctors can provide are temporary band-aids to much larger problems in my body.
A few days ago, I spent $300 for a consultation appointment at Nature Works Best, in Tempe. That visit deserves a different entry all in itself, but there was one recommendation made by Dr. Nguyen that day that i tried for the first time this evening: castor oil packs. She gave me a handout and specifically advised me to put castor oil packs on my entire abdomen every night for 45-60 minutes. Following the doctor’s orders took some preparation: buying castor oil and a piece of wool flannel from a health food grocery store earlier in the day; heating up a hot water bottle; putting old towels on my bed, in order to prevent my sheets from getting stained; lying in bed for an hour while a castor oil-soaked piece of flannel laid across my abdomen, and a hot water bottle perched on top of that allowed the castor oil to better penetrate into my skin. Before i settled into bed, i threw on an episode of How to Get Away With Murder, seeing this as an easy opportunity to watch a TV show while honoring my doctor’s request to do this every night.
Within a half hour, my stomach started cramping. I figured it was the two (okay, four) garlic sticks i ate an hour before; with my treatments, i am not supposed to have ANY processed foods, and my body has been quick to teach me lessons this past week each time i ignore the eighteen pages of dietary restrictions laid out by three of my five doctors. I barely made it through the 42-minute episode before rushing to the bathroom. Yucky experience. Afterwards, i returned to my bed with my tail between my legs and a pout on my face. Immediately, i started doing some research on just what this castor oil pack treatment is doing to my body, and i had another wake-up call about the miracle of NOT-so-modern medicine. Castor oil, a product that has been around so long that the New Testament of the Christian Bible refers to a time when Jesus allegedly blessed the plant that creates the castor oil, has all these AMAZING benefits. I wasn’t even looking for benefits. I had, after all, just come back from an unfortunate bathroom trip, so my exact wording in the Google search engine was “cons of castor oil pack treatments.” It took me more than 15 minutes of reading before i could even find ONE drawback: upset stomachs and bathroom issues that occasionally led to people calling out of work the next day. Apparently, this oil penetrates into our skin to clear toxins that have built up. Frequent trips to the bathroom – while an inconvenience in the moment – can be a clear sign that our body is trying to get rid of something unhealthy, something that shouldn’t be there. I also read that castor oil on the abdomen is just one of many ways that this product is used. People use castor oil and castor oil packs orally AND topically to prevent bacteria and yeast infections, alleviate joint pain, prevent cold sores from abscessing, reduce swollen glands, address sun burn, reduce arthritic inflammation, stimulate internal organs, soften calloused and dry skin … and, from one husband’s testimony, reduce the size of a pot belly that his wife couldn’t shake off after giving birth to their child. Whether ingested or applied topically, castor oil could fill a resume page with a whole list of credentials … and i had never even HEARD about this until a few days ago. I read information from eight different sites and was blown away by what this home remedy could do.
And now, as i wrap up my entry for the night, i can honestly say that my stomach is no longer cramping, i don’t have garlic breadsticks weighing down my body as i get ready to go to bed, and i am feeling a *bit* less disgruntled about that $300 i spent the other day to see a doctor that my insurance company refuses to cover due to political pressures (particularly those involving the pharmaceutical industry).
No one can say that having advanced cancer isn’t a learning experience.
(my favorite link, although more credible sources are listed further below) –> http://www.curezone.org/forums/am.asp?i=617583
http://www.livestrong.com › Diseases and Conditions
http://www.drdavidwilliams.com › View Health A-Z › Immune Health