Think about it like this: Let’s say you’re not sleeping.
A regular doctor will give you an Ambien.
An Eastern doctor will give you an herb
At Parsley we will figure out why you’re not sleeping.
Your insomnia could be anxiety , or it could be inflammation from how you’re eating, or it could be high cortisol levels, or a nutrient deficiency, or it could be because of habits you have at night like looking at a computer screen . Whatever the underlying cause is, we will use our functional medicine expertise and cutting edge testing to figure it out, so that you can get to the root of the problem. We may use herbs or drugs or both to help you in the short term, but we keep our eyes on the prize: resolving the root cause of your problem.
The why is the thing that regular doctors, even integrative doctors, miss. And for many people today, the why is deeply linked to what’s happening in your brain.
The brain is connected to your body through nerves, blood and immune channels call the lymphatic system.
This means your brain is in touch with every single cell in your body, and you can use it as a tool to talk to those cells and make them healthier.
My epiphany on this came when I was in medical school. I had been meditating and teaching yoga for a while, but hadn’t ever used those things directly to heal an illness. I knew they made me feel stronger, calmer and happier, but that was it.
Then I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, something many young women face today because over 80% of us have been exposed to HPV, a virus that can cause cervical cancer. I found out that I had stage 3 carcinoma in situ with glandular involvement, meaning the cancer had spread past the first layer of my cervix and was starting to creep deeper.
This was June 2010 and I was scheduled for a procedure to remove the cancer called a LEEP in July, the same month I was working nights and weekends in the cardiac ICU at Columbia, my last major rotation of medical school, and a time of high stress and little sleep.
I knew stress had lowered my immune system and that was why the cancer had been able to progress. So I turned to a form of meditation that is visualization based, and with the guidance of one of my meditation teachers, every day I visualized my body healing, the cancer disappearing, and the energy of the cancer leaving every one of my cells.
The LEEP happened under the care of my awesome Columbia OBGYN, and a week later when she called me to report the results of the pathology – meaning when the doctors look at the tissue they remove and see if it has cancer cells – she had something strange to report. She knew she got the right spot, but the pathology was completely normal. She was very surprised, and confused. They had removed the right tissue, but in the few weeks between diagnosis and the procedure, the cancer had disappeared.
I had used my brain to heal my body.
At Parsley, we prescribe meditation to every single member. Why? Because it’s the most powerful drug we have to offer.
Now, I’m not saying meditation can heal every type of cancer, and I am definitely not saying that you shouldn’t get conventional treatment for cancer – having the proper diagnosis, staging and approach to cancer from a conventional doctor is an essential starting place.
But 50% of cancer at least is preventable according to the National Cancer Institute and we know that things like stress, smoking, obesity and high blood sugar all play a role.
We also know that the mind, through deep breathing practices and meditation , can have profound effects on the body, from speeding up or slowing down digestion, to lowering blood pressure, to lowering inflammation and improving immune function.
And we know that the body is one big energy current. There is a voltage gradient between every cell created by a balance of potassium and sodium ions that flow back and forth from the inside to the outside of the cells. This voltage gradient creates an electricity flow that extends throughout your body. Through impulses between the central nervous system (the brain) and the rest of the body’s nervous system, the brain can control this electric gradient.
So how do you access the information superhighway that connects your incredibly powerful brain to each one of your cells?
Sugar and refined flour spike insulin, causing inflammation and energy imbalances in the brain. When you cut out these foods and balance your blood sugar your mind gets clearer and healthier.
The science of meditation runs deep. Use this simple practice to calm the nervous system, lower inflammation and get better sleep – all of which support the immune system. Don’t know how? Get an app like Headspace or Buddhify and learn.
Research shows that weight bearing exercise not only increases your resting metabolic rate and lowers insulin resistance, it also improves cognitive function long term and lowers your risk of dementia.
Omega 3 fatty acids not only balance blood sugar and lower inflammation they are the building blocks of a healthy brain. I like fish oil supplements like omegagenics 720. You can also eat flax seeds and more cold water fish like sardines.
Probiotics make neuro-active compounds that can change your mood and reduce depression. A healthy gut microbiome is the key a healthy immune system and we now know a healthy state of mind.
Dr. Robin Berzin is the founder and CEO of Parsley Health. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Robin completed medical school at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.