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Integrative Medicine: Part Two

Integrative Medicine: Part 2 of 2

A Foggy Brain, a Book in the Refrigerator

Abby, who didn't want her last name used, knows all about the result of interlaced factors. The 43-year-old psychotherapist received whiplash from an auto accident 11 years ago. For more than a year she suffered pain, which caused disturbed sleep and chronic stress, and it was during this time that she also became pregnant.

After giving birth, the Greenwich, Connecticut resident developed a series of bacterial infections. Her doctors put her on a heavy course of antibiotics, and one year later she developed a flu that never seemed to leave.

Abby was on a downward spiral, one that led her into a seven-year sojourn through CFS and fibromyalgia. At her worst she was barely able to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. Her brain fog was so severe that she once found a book in her refrigerator.

The Promise of Integrative Medicine

With the help of a naturopath, Abby turned to herbal medicines and supplements and an organic, nonallergenic diet to support her digestive system. She practiced meditation and breathing exercises every day and received acupuncture regularly to stimulate her body's healing process.

To complement the alternative therapies, an understanding physician prescribed medications to treat depression, pain and sleep disturbance.

"I don't know what I would have done without those medicines, because they restored my sleep, when nothing natural would," Abby says. "Then my immune system had a chance to heal."

Today, while Abby occasionally suffers from mild symptoms during stressful times, she is able to jog three times a week, and she lives a full life with her husband and 10-year-old son. She continues to use herbs, supplements and a healthy diet.

Integrating the strengths of conventional and alternative therapies has been the key to Abby's healing and holds promise for countless others who face the challenges of complex chronic illness.

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