During the course of our visits to alternative doctors and our own research, we’ve come across some learnings on alternative medicine and a general attitude about what to do when we get sick.
Since this journey started at almost the same time as the birth of our daughter, Brie, adopting the alternative lifestyle proved to be a challenge. Aside from your pediatrician, you had doting grandparents who had their own opposing ways of dealing with our daughter. And of course, you had to challenge years of being brainwashed about our relationship with medicine and sickness. For example, if Brie had a fever, the common practice is to cool her down and immediately give her paracetamol. We also had to re-learn or unlearn what a fever really was, because it was different for infants (it was a bit higher). Our research also said that the most important thing about a fever, especially in kids, is the general disposition of the child. If she is active, happy, and playful despite of the fever, then she is ok. The only times we resorted to paracetamol are when she broke the 39°C temp and when all she wanted to do was lie down and sleep. We also put her on the daily calamansi regiment, but at a lower dosage (about 10 pieces of calamansi compared to our 20). We still keep her on her vitamins though (Ceelin with zinc and Growee). So far so good. She hasn’t visited the Pedia in about 3 or 4 years (we’ve lost count). We only went back partially out of courtesy but mainly because we thought it was a good idea anyway.
Another attitude we had to adopt was to treat food as medicine. It’s a forgotten idea especially from eastern medicine (Chinese and Indian). We still did pills and capsules for convenience, but went for the “natural” stuff. Lagundi for cough, malunggay for vitamin C, and we even had turmeric powder (for arthritis/gout) capsulized. We ate bananas and drank a lot of water for diarrhea (as well as avoided oily/fried food). We ate boiled kamote for gas pains. We drank fresh salabat (boiled ginger, no sugar) when we felt a cold coming. And of course, slept and rested when things really got rough. Thankfully, we only experience a serious flu attack about once a year, and we probably skipped one if we’re lucky.
According to our Ayurvedic doctor, the cure for gout is goat meat, especially the joint and bone parts. I’ve tried to form a habit, but it’s a bit difficult as it isn’t common in the grocery/market, and it takes a special kind of patience to cook it properly.
Anj’s sister suffers from asthma and psoriasis (which is actually related to asthma). When we recommended her to our Ayurvedic doctor (Fr. Jacob, more info here), he told her to avoid chicken. For the first time in probably years, TC had a few weeks of relief from her cough. Unfortunately, she couldn’t let go of chicken as part of her diet, so she eventually got back into it…and so did her cough.
However, a couple of things were hard to totally avoid: farmed meats. Especially tilapia, bangus, dory, and chicken. Ayurveda recommends native, organic chicken if we have to eat chicken. Non-farmed fish (like talakitok and the like) are freakin’ expensive.
Both of us suffer from chronic headaches, though we probably don’t have migraine (as we are still able to function). Anj pushes through it for the most part, but coffee and naps help (and lovin’ :)). I, however, have been a customer of various topical ointments since high school. My mom gave me Borher-ding, a chinese pill-shaped crystallized menthol. It provided quick but temporary relief. You could still buy this at Mercury, along with White Flower and Katinko.
In recent years, I’ve found Giga’s No Pain ointment to be more effective (I’ve probably developed a resistance to Borher-ding).
Another topical treatment I use is Tago-Ngirit, a spray-on oil produced by our former manghihilot (Efren Guazon, RIP. A google search will show a couple of websites and Youtube videos. Unfortunately, he died last year. His wife continues to sell these products, though.). Aside from rubbing/massaging it on my temples and the back of my neck, I also massage my scalp, which basically sets my whole head on fire (or ice) and provides some relief. I also do some acupressure, pressing the tips of my fingers firmly as well as pinching my palm (between the thumb and forefinger).
However, it was only in recent months that my headaches were significantly reduced. I already expected to get headaches at least 3-4x a week, now I only get them about 2x a month. Due to my hippie mom, who was always on the hunt to solve her chronic sinus and headache problem (gee, I wonder why I get headaches), she discovered a cranial dentist (Dentex, Dra. Lindsay Bancosta, whose office is in oh-so-inconvenient Tutuban Mall in Divisoria). According to the dentist, a lot of her problems are caused by imbalances in her teeth. She explained that misalignments in our teeth can cause problems in our breathing (nasal passage), headaches (TMJ misalignment), all the way to our back, hips, and legs. Crazy, right? So here I am, 38 and with braces…again.
Up next: Alternative doctors and overall learnings
To be concluded….