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The (Autoimmune) Healing Journey

The (Autoimmune) Healing Journey

As a Functional Medicine practitioner and autoimmune person myself, I’ve experienced the highs and lows of autoimmunity too many times to count. After healing my Hashimoto’s and Celiac disorders, I went on to successfully work with various chronic illness and autoimmune clients throughout the years.  I had a striking realization: every healing journey is oddly similar. I’ve witnessed countless clients walk through what I call “The Healing Journey.”

Remember, every individual with a chronic illness or an autoimmune condition is 100% unique. The causes, triggers, and ultimate healing of their condition is bio-individual. Yet, at the same time, the journey and emotions we experience are incredibly familiar.  In recognizing the similarities of the healing experience, we can look at the big picture, to provide insight, wisdom, and hope. 

What is The Healing Journey

The Healing Journey mirrors the story of a hero. You know, the classical “Hero’s Journey”? Think of your favorite movie – one with a hero and villain. You typically meet the hero before he or she is a hero. They’re likely the struggling underdog, who’s hit rock bottom. As the movie comes to a close, the hero restores his or her strength and saves the world. Right?

Consider your own Healing Journey to be like that of a hero. You struggle through the pits of Rock Bottom, struggles through the trials and tribulations of Root Cause Healing and eventually achieve vibrancy. Better yet, as you move through your Healing Journey, you become an healer and hero (for yourself and others). As a result, you gain the opportunity to establish a long-term state called The New Normal for your health.

The 4 Stages of The (Autoimmune) Healing Journey

The Autoimmune Journey

The Healing Journey is divided into four stages:

        1. Mystery Symptoms
        2. Rock Bottom
        3. Root Cause Healing
        4. Your New Normal

Let’s dive in deeper:

          1. Mystery Symptoms
            The first stage of The Healing Journey is inevitable…a rollercoaster of Mystery Symptoms. Every healer starts by experiencing confusing symptoms, despite considering themselves overall “healthy.” She alternates between “good” and “bad” days…symptoms flare and subside without rhyme or reason. In this Phase, they probably haven’t sought help from a professional or doctor. More importantly, they haven’t done the appropriate labs or diagnostic tests to identify the underlying causes of your health challenges.
          2. Rock Bottom
            After experiencing mystery symptoms for months or years, enter stage 2: Rock Bottom. While this might sound like a hopeless place to be, it’s a turning point for most. Without a doubt, every healed person can specifically pinpoint their Rock Bottom. During this 2nd stage, you probably no longer experiences many (or any) “good” days. You’re always symptomatic. After multiple doctor’s appointments, “normal” lab results, and repeatedly being told “it’s all in your head,” frustration increases. At rock bottom, quick fixes and magic pills can feel more appealing than understanding the “why.
          3. Root Cause Healing
            Did you know not everyone reaches Phase 3: Root Cause Healing?!? Often, conventional medicine fails people with complex and chronic health challenges. If they keep asking “why?” they usually reach Phase 3! For Root Cause Healing, holistic, integrative and functional medicine practitioners usually get involved to look for the root cause of imbalances. With the help of a variety of functional lab tests (stool, saliva, urine), a functional medicine practitioner can identify the Root Causes of health challenges and provide a path to healing. This is often when a person explores healing diets and a food-as-medicine approach for the first time. Here, “good” days reappear here-and-there and a balanced mind-body-spirit starts to emerge.
          4. New Normal
            After months, or possibly years, of going through The Healing Journey, a healer will see the light is at the end of the tunnel. When the New Normal is established, they are empowered. They understand their health and MindBodySpirit. They are confident in knowing what it takes to sustain a life of vibrance and vitality. They able to navigate new situations, while experiencing levels of wellness they didn’t know were possible. During this new normal, optimal health and vitality is a daily occurrence and flare-ups are far-and-few between. They’ve mastered their creativity, sensitivity, and intuition and have found some of their Superpowers!
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Although every healing experience is unique, the four stages of The Healing Journey is a comprehensive and all-encompassing picture of recovering from chronic illness. It serves as a powerful resource in every healing journey!

How Does Autoimmunity Impact The Healing Journey

The Healing Journey serves as a bird’s-eye view of your health over time. It allows you to scale back and look at the big picture.

Autoimmunity is a fickle condition and when you’re down, you really feel down. It’s hard to have a sense of long-term progress when someone is on an autoimmune rollercoaster or going through an episode of a flare-up. The Healing Journey provides perspective and hope.

As a Functional Medicine practitioner, I use The Healing Journey to identify the stage my patient is currently in. From there, I can create the best strategy moving forward. In addition, for most patients, seeing the “big picture” gives hope and provides insight into the journey ahead. 

For both practitioner and patient, The Healing Journey is eye-opening. It’s a tangible, visual tool to track and measure progress, which is why it’s a staple in The Sensitive Approach.

Next Steps

Do you have a chronic illness? Have you been diagnosed with autoimmunity? Even if you suspect you have a chronic illness, an autoimmune condition, or have already been diagnosed, The Healing Journey can serve as a pivotal tool in your health and recovery.

To learn more about which stage you’re currently and understand the best next steps for you, take my FREE quiz. As a result, you’ll gain access to helpful resources and understand what you need to do to achieve lasting healing!

The Healing Journey, like that of a hero’s, is long and windy. It inevitably comes with ups and downs, yet ultimately leads you to the healthy, vibrant, energized mind and body you’ve been searching for!

Dr. Natasha F
[email protected]

Dr. Natasha F is a Doctor, Designer, Speaker and Artist. She specializes in healing autoimmunity through integrative chiropractic, functional neurology, functional medicine, nutrition, homeopathy and narrative medicine.

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