Health in Synergy is a resource that inspires parents to improve their family health and wellbeing.
It helps parents navigate the confusion between natural and modern medicine and demonstrates how both work together to successfully overcome illness and achieve better family health.
Our mission is simple = Healthy Kids, Happy Family!
The Health in Synergy team includes Caroline, a Nutritional Therapist and Medical Herbalist. Dr. Alex, a specialist in Infectious Diseases, and GP Dr. Luke.
Meet the team here.
In this blog you’ll find….
- Deliciously healthy RECIPES your whole family will enjoy.
- Simple REMEDIES to support your family during times of illness.
- Our A-Z Health Topics – where we show how natural and modern medicine work together, in synergy, to find solutions for the most common childhood health conditions.
- Discussions on how to achieve optimal family health and wellbeing, in our GENERAL HEALTH section.
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How can Health in Synergy benefit YOUR FAMILY?
Let me explain…..
Take a moment to think about what good health means to you?
For me, it’s those days where I wake up feeling refreshed, alive, raring to go and excited about the day ahead.
However, in the Western world, we tend to think of health as the absence of disease.
Even though it’s clear that it’s much more complex than that.
The Wellness – Illness Continuum diagram Dr John W. Travis (originally 1972 and updated in 2004).
For example, if we think about health and disease on a sliding scale, where perfect health is on the far right and severe illness on the far left, you’ll see that there is also a scale of wellness.
This wellness scale ranges from ‘Neutral’ or symptom free at number 5 to number 10 =
= Optimal Health!
Let’s be honest, none of us (including me) would score 100% in a health test at all times.
Throughout life, we move up and down this scale.
Where we sit on the scale depends on many different factors which I discuss in the general health section of this blog.
Now take a moment to consider where you and your family fall on this scale?
Does anyone in your family use regular medications, such as pain relief, inhalers, steroid creams or antibiotics? When you’re sick, do you recover from illness quickly? Are you content, happy and fulfilled? Do you feel fit, strong, well, and bursting with energy?
Throughout my childhood, I consistently fell around number 3 or 4 on this scale.
I had regular trips to the GP, and rounds of antibiotics for ear infections, which only worked in the short term.
In my teen’s things got worse.
I had bad acne which caused low confidence and self-esteem.
I was fat, spotty, tired and sad.
You see modern medicine and public healthcare are really only set up to provide treatments for those that suffer from short term (acute) disease.
What is an acute health condition?
An acute medical condition is one that is normally brief, with a sudden onset.
For example, if I caught a bad infection whilst on holiday, or my cold turned into a nasty case of pneumonia, perhaps my toddler had croup and was struggling to breath, or one of my children slipped and broke a bone. The GP surgery or hospital would be where I’d head to receive expert specialist treatment from someone like my husband, Dr. Alex or our good friend, GP Dr Luke. (Meet the team).
But my health conditions weren’t acute, they kept coming back.
In other words, they were chronic.
What is a chronic health condition?
A chronic health condition is something that is recurring, persistent, long lasting, and may progress or worsen over time.
Common chronic health conditions in adults for example include asthma, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Sadly, statistic suggests that over 50% of adults in the UK are living with a chronic health condition or disease, requiring numerous medications.
Being overweight is thought to contribute to chronic health conditions, and more than two thirds of adults in the UK are overweight or obese.
Worryingly, chronic disease in children is also on the rise.
It is estimated that between 10-30% of children are living with chronic disease (depending on the criteria) and that 28% of children in the UK are considered overweight or obese.
Some of the most common chronic health conditions in children include ADHD, Eczema, Hay fever, Asthma, Irritable bowel, and Juvenile Arthritis.
The percentage of children diagnosed with hay fever and eczema in the UK has trebled in the last 30 years.
In the UK allergic disease costs the NHS £900 million a year.
What CAUSES chronic disease?
Previously it was thought that our genes caused chronic disease, and that we had no control over our health.
However, research now suggests that most of the time your genes DO NOT determine your health, it’s your environment negatively affecting your genes.
The simplest example is smoking.
When you inhale chemicals in cigarette smoke, they directly change your DNA sequence which can lead to cancer.
Food is also a remote control to our genes.
Depending on what you eat, you can switch genes that cause disease on or off.
The impact of nutrition on our genes is called the science of nutrigenomics.
It is believed that the recent industrialisation of the world, and the emergence of an ultra-refined and processed diet plays a huge role in the development of chronic disease.
In fact, it is estimated that…..
Over 85% of chronic diseases are preventable
..because they are caused by our diet, lifestyle choices and the environment we live in.
This could be considered good or bad news depending on which way you look at it.
On the positive side, it means that we have control over our health.
If we feed our family nutritious food, and strive for a happy and wholesome lifestyle, the outcome looks good.
On the negative side, it means we carry a huge amount of responsibility on our shoulders.
If we choose to regularly feed our children junk or ultra-processed refined foods, and get into bad habits, we could negatively influence their genes which may lead to a poor health outcome in the future.
Either way, it’s our choice.
What does this mean for modern medicine?
Sadly, this means that our current public healthcare system, which focuses on drug treatments or surgery to manage symptoms and keep people alive, is really not set up to treat, prevent or reverse chronic health conditions, let alone….
Teach Families how to Achieve and Maintain Good Health
Please may I note that this is not in anyway a put down of modern medicine, which is doing some phenomenal ground-breaking science right now.
- Scientists have discovered how to restore sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and even limbs to amputees!
- They are also eradicating deadly diseases such as smallpox and are on the verge of wiping out the Guinea Worm, a parasite that painfully erupts from people’s skin.
- Perhaps most excitingly (for me) is that genetic scientists (like my husband Dr. Alex) are uncovering ways to help predict who is at risk of common chronic health conditions such as certain cancers and dementia. This would give patients the heads up to take responsibility for their health and put preventative measures in place.
What’s the answer?
It’s clear, that to be free from chronic disease and achieve optimal wellness, we need to embrace a natural whole body approach to health.
The main factors that contribute to optimal health are shown in the pie chart below. Each slice of the pie may vary in size depending on the individual.
But I’m healthy already, why do I need this?
This is a question I get asked a lot, and I’ll try to explain it as simply as possible.
When I met my husband Alex 26 years ago, he was a healthy teenage boy.
Every minute of the day was taken up by school, sports, socialising and studying for exams.
He was tall and lean, a picture of good health.
When we fell into a relationship in our twenties, I was at the beginning of my nutrition training, and had managed to overcome the chronic health conditions I mention above simply through changing the foods I ate.
I’d lost several stone in weight and was feeling better than ever.
Me being a keen cook meant that Alex naturally began to eat the foods that I did.
Over time, he embraced my healthy eating, not only because he liked the food I prepared, but out of curiosity to see what effect it had on his (seemingly healthy) body.
A year into our relationship he noticed that the acne he got on his back had disappeared, and that he no longer needed to carry tissues as his nose drip had cleared.
A few years later his digestion had dramatically improved and the dark circles under his eyes he thought were just part of his complexion were completely gone.
Fast forward 16 years, he continues to eat healthily (most of the time – we are human after all), be symptom free, feel optimally well and now enjoys daily yoga before heading to work. (Read our full story here)
This is a familiar story.
From my experience of working with many families, it’s clear that a seemingly ‘healthy’ person, can still benefit hugely from eating well and embracing a healthy lifestyle, even if it’s simply to prevent chronic health conditions from developing in the future.
Furthermore, by taking responsibility for your health and adopting a synergistic approach, you’re not only helping your family, you’re helping support public healthcare.
OUR VISSION AND MISSION
Even before Covid-19 arrived, public health care services were being stretched to a breaking point.
Understaffing, excessive waiting lists, closure or privatisation of services leads to overburdening of GPs and hospital staff.
We know many medical professionals who have considered quitting because they feel overworked, under appreciated and burned out.
Speaking from personal experience, as the wife of a conscientious doctor, the physical and emotional demands of the job can break a family.
Sadly, this can only go on for so long.
Natural therapies can support public healthcare
Natural therapies, such as Nutrition, Herbal medicine and others I discuss in this blog, may support public healthcare.
They could help reduce the burden on the NHS by providing natural solutions for many common, minor or chronic health complaints so that GP appointments can be kept for those who really need them.
Furthermore, by embracing this type of integrative healthcare, parents can access a team of health professionals that assist them in achieving optimum health and wellbeing, instead of simply focusing on the absence of disease.
Health care systems worldwide are changing and the use of natural and complementary medicine forms part of this transformation.
In places like Germany, Sweden, Singapore, China and India, an integrated medical system is already in place.
Whilst this synergistic structure is not currently part of UK public healthcare, we see it as the future, and the future must start somewhere.
Why work with parents?
There’s no better place to start a good habit than with parenting.
We’ve noticed that having children has given us new motivation to stay healthy. We drink less, eat well and exercise regularly, not only because we want to be around to see our kids grow up, but because we want to set a good example.
It’s clear that children learn behaviours from the people that care for them.
So, if they are brought up in a synergistic healthcare society modelled by their parents, they are more likely to take charge of their own health, seek natural solutions and put preventative measures in place.
This includes sensible diet and lifestyle choices to maintain optimum health.
It’s a win-win situation for everyone!
So, tell me……
Are you up for the challenge?
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