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Alternative Healthcare For Optimum Wellness
"There is one consolation in being sick ... the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before." — Henry David Thoreau
As she lay sick on the couch for days — sometimes months — at a time, Lynn DuBord searched for comfort in Henry David Thoreau’s quote. She had found it in Real Simple magazine, cut it out, and kept it in a box next to her by the couch. Whenever she’d open the box and see the quote, she’d pause, clarify her thoughts, and cling to the hope that someday, she would return to a state of vibrant health and happiness.
Finally, through alternative therapies, lifestyle changes, a strong will and a positive mind, Lynn was able to overcome her sickness and reach ultimate wellness.
“Sick” became “normal”
Lynn, now 27, rarely got sick as a kid. It wasn’t until she turned 24 and chronic stress reached its peak that her health hit a downward spiral.
About six weeks after getting married, Lynn broke out into hives from head to toe. Working as a youth ministry and confirmation coordinator for a church, her job required working weekends, late nights, and 60 to 70 hours a week. Her skin started peeling so severely that it hurt. She was exhausted and felt like she couldn’t do anything.
But her long hours at work continued, and her state of health got worse: staph infections, pink eye, bronchitis, ear infections, skin rashes, urinary infections, a swollen armpit … Every couple weeks she had a new illness, and “sick” became her “normal” state.
Lynn and Ron DuBord’s wedding day. “The calm before the storm,” Lynn says. Ron was very supportive of Lynn through her healing journey. Credit: Stacey Eads
“I had attributed things to be normal that weren’t normal, that were indeed my body telling me, ‘Slow down. This isn’t right,’” Lynn says. “I had gotten so disconnected from who I was and what my body needed that I didn’t recognize those signs.”
After a weekend retreat with her students — working 42 hours in a row — and just coming off medicine for a urinary infection, Lynn developed severe and persistent abdominal pain.
Lynn saw nine different specialists and underwent a battery of tests. According to Western medicine, Lynn had ovarian cysts, endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic stress, viral infections and/or swollen glands.
But nothing pointed to a clear diagnosis, and nothing made her feel better.
“I wanted an answer, and nobody could give it to me.” Lynn says. It was time to search for other options.
Lynn and her husband had heard about a couple of good acupuncture practitioners near where they lived in Dubuque, Iowa. It was a financial commitment for them, but they tried it without hesitation. And one of the practitioners went far beyond poking needles into her — he also taught Lynn about Traditional Chinese Medicine. He told her what caused her energies to be out of balance and how he would diagnose her. He said her “digestive fire” had gone out — most likely due to the antibiotics she had taken and the kinds of foods she was eating — and recommended that she change her diet.
How Lynn detoxed her body
Lynn started her new diet the week of Thanksgiving. She was so desperate to feel good, she didn’t care if she couldn’t eat what everyone else did on Thanksgiving Day. It helped that her husband tried the new diet with her — he’d been suffering from stomach problems as well.
On the advice of her acupuncturist, Lynn and her husband eliminated sugar, high fructose corn syrup and spicy foods. They ate very few foods sold in cans and boxes, and they searched for natural, healthy options. They found chemical-free jellies made with fresh fruit, and salsas made with fresh veggies.
Lynn also became aware of her food allergies and intolerances and stopped eating gluten, dairy, chicken and eggs. Knowing that it takes four days for food to process completely out of the body, she tracked what foods she ate and how her body felt after eating them.
“Six weeks after changing my diet, I was able to taste food again — taste what it really tastes like.” Her stomach pain subsided and her skin rashes disappeared.
Lynn was so encouraged by the improvements, she started changing other parts of her lifestyle, too.
Her acupuncturist had mentioned the negative effects of paraben, a chemical often found in cosmetic products. So she began researching other toxins found in beauty and cleaning products and, little by little, made some changes in her house. She now avoids products made with artificial fragrances and coloring, and she brings a list of chemicals and ingredients she wants to avoid when she goes to the grocery store. She’s switched to beeswax and soy candles, organic essential oils and organic Fiji lotion. “If I don’t recognize what’s in the label, I don’t want to eat it and I don’t want to wear it,” Lynn explains.
In fact, Lynn’s acupuncturist attributes her rapid improvement to the way she embraced everything — detoxing both her body and home.
Why she started doing yoga and meditation
Lynn in warrior II pose at Lake Ahquabi. Lynn likes this pose because it helps her find the balance between strength and openness. Credit: Ron DuBord
Lynn had started practicing yoga out of college but stopped when she was ill. As her health improved, she wanted to bring it back.
“I brought yoga back in a different way. Not any more for building muscle and keeping flexibility, but I needed to connect with my body again.”
Now a yoga instructor, Lynn practices yoga every day for 45 minutes and meditates daily. She says her yoga and meditation have helped her gain strength, pay more attention to her body and calm her mind.
“I am now happier, calmer, stronger and more empowered,” Lynn says. “I can be my best self more often.”
Lynn doesn’t know exactly what caused her illnesses. She can’t point to one cure that healed her. But she does know she’s finally reached a state of vibrant health and happiness — and feels better than she ever has before. “I’m healthier now at 27 than I was at 22. I don’t think I could have dreamed of feeling this good. And to know that I can go into my 30s and 40s and maintain that is incredible.”
Lynn's top 3 tips to improve your well-being
Lynn has also started helping others as a lifestyle wellness coach.
“What ultimately helped me feel better was looking at my body and my circumstances and changing it,” she says. She offers these tips for anyone who wants to reach maximum health and wellness:
- Change your inner dialogue. Have a strong, positive inner self. Believe you can do what you set your mind to.
- Don’t hide your emotions, but don’t spew them out at others. Process them with journaling, meditating and confiding them in a safe place (whether that be with a therapist, a spouse, a family member or a friend).
- Take it one step at a time, one change at a time. Recognize the beauty that’s around you wherever you are, and live in the present moment.
Visit Lynn’s Web site at www.illuminateyoga.com.
Feature photo by Ron DuBord. Lynn in prayer pose at Lake Ahquabi, just south of Indianola, Iowa.