Holistic Health meets Science

What do you think of when you think Holistic Health? Do you think of crunchy granola, patchouli oil, and Woodstock? Do you think of a crazy cat lady who rails against modern medicine? I used to think of these things as well – and I really didn’t want to be a crazy cat lady or smell like patchouli!!

My cute cat. I swear I'm not a cat lady though! ;)
My cute cat. I swear I’m not a cat lady though! 😉

Once I became a patient, I quickly realized the health care system did NOT have my best interests in mind. I was hurried through appointments, waiting hours to speak with a doctor for 20 minutes and cut off from asking questions. My oncologist actually said, word for word, “Now is not a good time to have melanoma.” OH, great, and WHEN IS a good time to have melanoma?!?! My surgeon also scheduled a second surgery for me without consulting with me about it! PLEASE research your health care team – a good team is worth it’s weight in gold! (I now have a great team, but more on that later!)

With this, I decided that I needed to take responsibility for my own health. I did not want to be a cog in the wheel of the system. The doctors and nurses who were caring for me (even me and my own career!) were a part of a system that wasn’t promoting health. I knew I didn’t want to be a patient, but I needed to understand the science of health.

So I turned to holistic health. Healing the whole body with medicine that has been around since the beginning of mankind. Mother Nature makes all kinds of natural medicines – witch hazel, coffee, cocoa, curare, marijuana, cocaine, the list goes on! We have known the powerful sources of Mother Nature for centuries, but we have come to rely on modern medicine. But sometimes science and holistic health can coincide.

I just came across this article the other day, and I love it. It has been known for quite some time that the immune function and gut microbes are linked. (I personally never knew this until I began to research holistic health and began to realize you really are what you eat.) Science journals such as Science Daily, Gut Microbes, and Clinical and Experimental Immunology (including many more!) have published on the link between the immune system and gut bacteria. But this new study goes even further, studying immunotherapy and specific gut bacteria.

Immunotherapy for melanoma patients is used to boost the body’s ability to fight the cancer cells. The theory is that for some unknown reason, a melanoma patient’s immune system is not working properly in recognizing and fighting the cancer cells. So if immunotherapy is the best that modern medicine can offer, it makes sense to try to boost your immune system, right? Well this article I keep mentioning does just this!!

Science Magazine reviewed two studies that link specific gut bacteria to an improvement in immunotherapy. The studies found that mice with melanoma, using Ipilimumab as an immunotherapy treatment, responded with slower tumor growth and better outcomes with healthy levels of Bifidobacterium present in their intestines.

Wow. What does this mean? If you read the article, I think you will find that holistic health is onto something. No doctor will educate their patients on healthy eating, nutrition, and gut health. But the science proves that all these things are incredibly important for curing cancer. Even if you solely rely on modern medicine, a healthy immune system (and healthy gut bacteria) make a difference in treatment.

Please everyone…research, research, research. Educate yourself. Learn how to optimize your treatments. Eat as though your life depends on it…because it does.

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