As a practitioner of traditional Chinese Medicine, I approach health differently than the typical western medical doctor. And with that, I tend to get very challenging and evasive cases, many of which are (often undiagnosed) autoimmune diseases. These cases wind up in my clinic because they deal with a host of vague symptoms that fall under the radar of most western medical physicians.
With the rise of autoimmune diseases (the incidence has tripled over the last 40 years, affecting nearly 30 million women) there is a calling for a better approach to helping those suffering with autoimmunity. Autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, celiac sprue, endometriosis, lupus, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) are the result of the body attacking itself and often come with a host of vague symptoms that ebb and flow. Hence, they are challenging to treat and must be approached from several different angles.
I have learned that the most successful approach isn’t just using diet or supplements to heal these patients as that’s only one part of the treatment protocol. The root of radical healing is the mental and emotional mindset shift. If autoimmunity is the body attacking itself on the cellular level, I think we should also question, where, on the emotional level, are we attacking ourselves?
My latest book, Body Belief: How To Heal Autoimmune Disease, Radically Shift Your Health & Love Your Body More, has all the tools to empower you because you deserve to feel good, you are worthy of abundant health, and most importantly, you are capable of healing yourself. Below is an excerpt from chapter three “The Body Belief Pillars.”
I’ve been in the business of health and wellness for 13 years, and what I have learned is that the indispensable key to getting someone to take back the power over their health is getting them to realize they actually do have the power to do it. Most people don’t realize their power. Most people don’t even exercise a fraction of their power. Instead, most people hand over their power to ingrained beliefs that may or may not be serving them anymore. The Body Belief plan challenges those old limiting beliefs, and shows you a pathway back to your power. Its guiding principles will teach you how to reconnect to yourself on every level, so that you can renew the beliefs that you have about your body, and from that place begin shifting your behaviors to best support and reawaken your health.
The most necessary pillar of the Body Belief plan is to reconnect to yourself. Reconnecting means listening to your body, hearing the conversations you have in your own mind, critically (and lovingly) questioning your beliefs, and getting back to knowing you as you are right now — inside and out.
When you reconnect to you, to your body, to your thoughts, to the beliefs that shape your perception of the world, and to your everyday choices, that’s when radical healing happens.
When you reconnect to you, you can hear yourself and how you talk to you; you can now understand why you treat you the way you do, and why you choose to do one thing instead of another. When you reconnect to you, you begin to know you better than anyone else, and to understand that you have the power to shift your beliefs and your behaviors. Through reconnecting to yourself, you begin to own the fact that you have the ability to see in a different way the world and how you move about in it.
Now, don’t fret, this knowing of yourself is not an overnight thing or a snap-your- fingers-and-it’s-done process; it will take time. Be patient and kind with yourself. Start now by saying to yourself, “I know that my body is hearing everything my brain says and I am going to start saying kinder things to myself. I deserve that, my body deserves that.” Even if you don’t fully believe that statement, say it to yourself three times, right now.
Many people walk around in a state of complete disconnect from themselves. And then they further disconnect by means of vices, like losing themselves in hours of television, social media, a couple of cocktails daily, or codependent relationships. Pick your vice; they all do the same thing — disconnect you from yourself, your situation, your feelings, your pain, and your joy. Listen, we all have our indulgences, and it’s not bad to have them. It becomes a vice, a problem, only when you are using them solely to disconnect all or most of the time. Hear me: be easy on yourself. It’s OK if you’re disconnected right now, because I know you can get reconnected. If I can get you to shift from being disconnected most of the time to being disconnected only some of the time, you will surely see major changes in your health and your life. That one step will bring major changes!
At the very root of autoimmunity is the body not recognizing itself and therefore mistakenly attacking itself. Said another way, your autoimmunity — your body’s misidentification of self — can begin to be healed only when you rekindle the relationship you have with yourself. As that reconnection grows stronger, you will honor yourself, you will hear yourself, and you will start the process of renewing your beliefs. Once your beliefs shift, your bio-chemistry will shift, and from that place the body will stop attacking itself — cellularly and emotionally. This first pillar of the Body Belief plan — reconnect — leads right into the second pillar: renew.
Renew means to start the process of shifting your beliefs about your body, your health, and how you function in the world from where you are now to a refreshed version of you.
Renewed beliefs are not necessarily different from the beliefs you currently have; they may simply be a more positive variation of them. An example of a renewed belief is transitioning from “I don’t think I’ll ever feel good again” to “I believe there’s a possibility that I could heal.” You now know that beliefs and thoughts create chemical messengers in your brain, and when these thoughts and beliefs are activated over and over again, they actually form chemical pathways in your brain. That’s why you often hear something like “it takes three weeks to change a habit.” Your brain needs to get rewired. So this renewal will be a gradual one, because your brain needs time to adapt to the new belief. You need time to become more comfortable with the new belief.
Your believing the new belief is very important to your transformation. I see it as soothing yourself from a less-good-feeling belief into a better-feeling belief. Slow and steady works better and lasts longer than cold turkey. The ultimate goal is to feel better than you do right now. There will be many more opportunities in this book to renew your beliefs, particularly in Chapter 5. For right now, the renewed belief I want you to start thinking is: I believe I have the power to change my beliefs and radically shift my health. Which leads us to the third pillar: reawaken.
Reawakening is when you come back to life, where your healing process takes root and the transformation begins. It’s where your new tools become habits and your new Body Belief lifestyle becomes you. In this book, the reawaken phase is all about what you are going to shift in your diet and your personal care routine to truly amplify your health and wellness. But it’s not until you reconnect to you and renew your beliefs that you can really allow for your reawakening. Your reawakening is where the rubber meets the road. To put it all together: when you reconnect to yourself and your beliefs become renewed, you will reawaken your health.
Photo Credit: Christa Meola
Aimee Raupp, MS, LAc, is a women’s health and wellness expert and the author of the books, Chill Out & Get Healthy, Yes, You Can Get Pregnant, and Body Belief. A licensed acupuncturist and herbalist in private practice in New York, her mission through her teachings is to educate and inspire women, improve their vitality, celebrate their beauty, and guide them to reconnect to the presence of their optimal health. Aimee is also the founder of the Aimee Raupp Beauty line of hand-crafted, organic skincare products. She engages her large community worldwide through her online programs and with her website, www.aimeeraupp.com.