Start Your Journey to Healing After Surgery or Chronic Illness

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If you’ve ever had surgery or dealt with a prolonged illness, you know that it can take months to feel like yourself again. Beyond the physical symptoms like fatigue and pain, there are a range of emotional and mental side effects that can plague you, such as anxiety, depression, irritability, brain fog, and a lack of interest in activities. 

Understanding Your Survival Drive and Its Role in Healing  

When you’re dealing with post-surgery recovery, a life-threatening condition, or a chronic disease, it can be hard to focus on the positive and lean in toward healing energy. Feelings of worry, anxiety, and stress can keep you stuck in survival mode — and fuel a vicious cycle with stress hormones and compounds that can worsen your condition.   

As hard as it may sound, shifting away from survival mode toward true healing requires slowing down, breathing, and relaxing as much as possible. Only feelings of safety and security can turn off survival mode.  

When you can quiet the stress, it allows your body to switch gears from a reactive defensiveness, into a healing state — the most important factor in recovering from something like surgery or a serious illness. This switch triggers a powerful change in your biochemistry, all the way down to the cellular level, allowing you to begin the process of healing chronic illness, inflammation, and disease.  

Create Space for Yourself to Heal  

When you make space in these ways, you allow healing energy to flow through your body. There are several ways you can do this:  

  • Free up physical space with exercise, which increases oxygenation and reduces inflammation.  
  • Allow space for time, giving you a break between actions and for “letting go.”  
  • Build mental space with meditation, which gives you space and clarity between thoughts to reduce fixations.  
  • Facilitate emotional space by practicing an open heart and mind to transform stress and adversity, and releasing negativity, anger, and resentment to create space for love, compassion, and kindness.  

Put Together Your Own Holistic Healing Kit  

The starting point of any healing journey calls for an environment of compassion, safety, and unconditional love. That’s what your body needs to transition out of survival mode so you can begin your healing journey. Starting with simple meditation practices can help you begin this process.   

Your plan may include a mix of healing modalities, not just conventional medicine, for a holistic approach to wellness. Incorporating diverse therapies and approaches can help to unlock more doors for transformation and healing. Each modality adds a different benefit to balance your personal wellness equation. Here are some examples of what that might look for you:  

Emphasizing These Essential Nutrients for Recovery: 

  • Protein: Crucial for tissue repair and muscle regeneration. Incorporate lean sources like chicken, fish, tofu, beans, and lentils. Protein provides essential amino acids for collagen, cartilage, tendons, and bone production, crucial for the body’s repair post-surgery. You may also want to consider eating both plant and animal protein sources to ensure intake of all essential amino acids.  
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins A, C, E, D, B complex, zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium play significant roles in wound healing, immune function, and tissue synthesis. 
  • Healthy Fats: Aid in reducing inflammation and enhancing the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Sources include avocados, nuts, coconut oil, and olive oil. 
  • Antioxidants: Found in berries, dark leafy greens, and citrus fruits, help combat post-surgery inflammation. 

Focusing on a Diet That Supports Your Body’s Recovery Process: 

  • Increase intake of nutrient-dense foods over processed ones. High in fats, low in protein and fiber, processed foods can cause constipation and decreased healing. Load up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. 
  • Control blood sugar levels to support wound healing. High blood sugar can delay recovery 5
  • Consult with a holistic nutritionist for personalized dietary planning, emphasizing portion control, high-quality proteins, and hydration. 
  • Before surgery, consume a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet and limit alcohol and sugar and no smoking! 
  • Avoid alcohol — it dehydrates the body and interferes with the healing process. 

Using Supplements to Enhance Your Body’s Healing Process: 

In your journey to recovery post-surgery, natural supplements can significantly enhance the healing process. Here are a few to consider: 

  • Grape seed extract: Known for reducing swelling, bruising, and promoting connective tissue formation for faster wound healing. 
  • Ginger: Acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory, aiding in pain reduction and lessening reliance on pharmaceutical painkillers. 
  • Garlic: Supports immune function, reduces inflammation, and aids in the growth of new blood vessels. 
  • Gotu kola: Increases collagen synthesis, speeding up wound healing and reducing scarring. 
  • Vitamin C and zinc: Essential for immune support, with Vitamin C decreasing the risk of post-surgical hemorrhage and Zinc involved in collagen production. 
  • Probiotics: Repopulate the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria, reducing the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and promoting healthy digestion and immune function. 
  • Proteolytic enzymes: These enzymes support the immune system and reduce inflammation, ensuring protection from destruction by stomach acid. 
  • Arnica: Known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving qualities, ideal for easing trauma and inflammation. 
  • Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP): A natural healing compound that can help soothe and calm your innate alarm system, while normalizing cellular activity. MCP supports healthy scar tissue and collagen formation, by promoting healthy galectin-3 expression. It also helps to defend against the spread of unhealthy cells during surgery.   
  • Medicinal mushrooms (in powder or capsules): Unique antiviral and antimicrobial properties are present within many medicinal mushroom species, providing powerful activity against against bacteria, viruses, and other infectious agents. For recovery, medicinal mushrooms help strengthen, balance, and “train” the immune system (aka modulation).

Making Lifestyle Adjustments for Optimal Recovery

To ensure optimal recovery post-surgery, incorporating specific lifestyle techniques can significantly enhance your healing process. Here are key strategies to consider: 

  • Balance rest and movement to support circulation, prevent stiffness, and accelerate recovery. If applicable, follow tailored physical therapy exercises to improve flexibility, strength, and mobility. 
  • Aim to drink at least 2 to 3 quarts (64 to 96 ounces) of filtered or spring water per day to ensure proper hydration.  very light color of urine is a good indicator that you’re well-hydrated. 
  • Practice specific meditation practices to create greater emotional and mental space, reduce anxiety, balance inflammation processes, and help halt and reverse biochemical disease processes.  

Moving Forward with Healing 

From the anti-inflammatory and immune-supportive properties of certain herbs to the critical role of adequate hydration and protein intake, it’s clear that integrating natural remedies and making informed lifestyle choices serve as vital components of a holistic recovery plan. This holistic approach not only supports physical healing but also addresses the emotional and mental aspects of recovery, offering a comprehensive pathway toward optimal health. 

Get inspired and motivated to improve and accelerate healing after surgery or a long illness using natural strategies, ensuring a recovery that’s not only swift but also deeply rooted in the best practices nature has to offer. 

Sources

https://wintergreenbotanicals.com/2020/09/02/surgery/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6778887/
https://chefsforseniors.com/blog/nutrition-post-surgery-recovery/
https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/nutrition-help-heal-your-wounds-after-surgery
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8156786/
https://www.hss.edu/conditions_nutrition-for-healing.asp
https://cdhf.ca/en/pre-and-post-surgery-nutrition-and-lifestyle-strategies-to-optimize-your-recovery/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9960863/
https://www.thewoundpros.com/post/precautions-and-lifestyle-changes-to-help-surgical-wound-recovery

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