What do we believe about the healthcare system?

Recently read this in a social work textbook – Physicians undermined the credibility of midwives by creating a perception that their practices were “unscientific”. It took nearly a century for midwives to begin to recapture their reputation and their influence over childbirth practices (Schoen 2000 cited in Rogers 2019). The resulting increase in use of midwives, home birth, and birth centers as an alternative to maternity wards within hospitals helps to restore women’s control over the birth process and to decrease the medicalization of birth (Parry 2008; Phelan & O’Connell, 2015 cited in Rogers 2019).

Similarly, since the 1960s and 1970s, women (and physicians) have rediscovered the benefits of breastfeeding. A generation earlier, the experts had recommended scientifically engineered formula over breast milk (Rogers 2019).

The test of time will surface misinformation that the media and healthcare system feeds us, won’t it? What are we learning from our history or are we repeating history? What have we chosen to believe in? Do we believe in them because it is what we are familiar with? What if we believed wrong?

I grew up in an era when most babies were fed formula milk due to the mainstream message that formula milk was superior to breast milk. The obvious difference I have noticed between my generation and my parents’ generation was that my generation saw more incidences of eczema (which is essentially an autoimmune disease).

I also grew up in a time when antibiotics were prescribed freely by doctors. Until scientific evidence showed up to say that too much antibiotics can cause bacterial resistance or antibiotic resistance and generate unwanted side effects.

(Read up on antibiotics here: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/five-unintended-consequences-antibiotic-overuse-031114)

Today, 30-40 years down the road, this message is still ingrained in the psyche of parents. Formula milk is preferred over breast milk for its convenience because society and culture has not made it easy for mothers to breastfeed in public or at work. I speculate too, that it’s chosen over breast milk due to the lack of knowledge about the wonderful attributes of breast milk, coupled with the residual misinformation that formula milk’s benefits surpass that of breast milk.

What have we done to breastfeeding? Will there come a day when no mothers will be breastfeeding because it’s seen as cumbersome and unpopular? If I am God, I will look upon my creation with sadness and grief, seeing how people destroy themselves, unknowingly and knowingly.

Misinformation can cause a generation of children to have a decline in health outcomes. Thus, it is of utmost importance for us to inquire and inform ourselves, especially in a heavily medicalised society. Get into conversations with doctors during consultations, ask them the hard questions, and don’t take mainstream healthcare narratives and product marketing at face value.

When I have to make tough decisions regarding family health issues, I would fall back on what is natural, given by God, and stick with that belief as my foundation. It has not proven me and my family wrong thus far. A question I often ponder upon is “Why have we chosen to put more trust in pharmaceuticals (synthetic drugs) instead of what is natural and good?”

What has happened to our belief in healthcare over the last century? Who is wiping out pertinent information about nutritional knowledge, natural systems which has kept humans alive for thousands of years, and natural remedies which help the body self-heal?

Source: Rogers, A. T. (2019). Human behaviour in the social environment: perspectives on development and the life course. New York: routledge

No-knead bread – will fermentation help with wheat intolerance?

Fermented for 12-18 hours before sticking it into the oven

Experimenting with fermented bread, to see if my son reacts to the wheat in it. I read that fermentation breaks down the gluten further, making it easier for digestion. We shall observe for the next few days…

Made with 4 ingredients: flour, yeast, salt and water.

Update: appears that son and I react to a protein in wheat. Not gluten. Would try the same recipe using spelt flour.

a wealth of knowledge to learn about food nutrition! Excellent knowledge to be recorded and passed down to our next generations.

Diet and Eczema

Positive results after avoiding corn, wheat, dairy and eggs

Being parents to Z has taught us so much about our immune systems, about nutrition, reading ingredients labels, steering away from medicinal drugs and vaccines.

We have unlearned and re-learned so much in this journey to help Z recover from eczema. I am still quite mind-blown at how much we had to “detox and unlearn” from the western medicine practice which was what we grew up with. For us to then transit into the fields of naturopathy, diet and nutrition, chiropractic/craniosacral therapy, bioresonance therapy was a leap of faith, and a radical venture into the unknown. Yet it has been the most rewarding because the results it produced were phenomenal.

Besides looking into diet and nutrition and receiving treatment from natural modes of therapy, skin products also play a part. Those which have been certified by dermatologists or prescribed by skin specialists might not be the best for eczema. I would avoid products with mineral oil (paraffin liquidum) and choose products with natural ingredients as much as possible. Mineral oil, when used over a long time, will cause layers of skin to be formed at the eczema spots, and it causes inflammation as the layers block the toxins from leaving the body through the skin. This happened to Z. When he stopped using the bath oil with mineral oil, his chest area began to clear up. Of course, avoiding the food allergens was a major causal factor too.

There is no one factor contributing to eczema. It cannot be treated as a skin disorder on its own. Our bodies are holistic, made up of many systems. 1 system affects another and another, hence it is important to find a practitioner who assesses and treats the body holistically for it to arrive at homeostasis.

Pregnancy and the Pelvis

I was reminded by my husband to pen down my experiences to help others make sense of similar experiences.

When I was pregnant with my 3rd child, I came down with pelvic pain in my 2nd trimester. The pain persisted till post delivery. I am 5 months post partum now and I am still undergoing rehabilitation.

Cause of pelvic pain: a rotated and tilted pelvis, which caused inflammation in my left Sacroiliac joint (SIJ).

Symptoms: I couldn’t walk normally. I could only limp very slowly. I felt pain getting up from a lying down position, felt pain from sitting, getting in and out of the car, toileting. I couldn’t lie on my left side. I couldn’t bend over to wear socks or pants while standing up. My movements were pretty much restricted. Lying flat on my back was the most comfortable position.

What helped during pregnancy: Physiotherapy helped me sit better and it was the daily pelvic exercises and deep breathing exercises which got me through till childbirth. However, physiotherapy did not resolve my walking problem.

What helped after pregnancy: Chiropractic adjusted my pelvis back to its neutral position. I only found out that my pelvis was rotated and tilted from my chiropractor. He advised me to ice the SIJs as frequently as I can to reduce the inflammation. It took about 5 sessions before I could walk better. I am now 5 months post partum and I’m walking normally. Sitting for a stretch of 30 mins still puts pressure on my SiJs and I would need to walk to relieve some discomfort. Swimming, SIJ strengthening exercises, stretches, physiotherapy exercises are great in complementing the chiropractic treatment.

I wish no other mums would go through the pains I had. My advice would be to seek chiropractic treatment when you feel any discomfort in your pelvis or lower back during the pregnancy. I had no knowledge about chiropractic during my pregnancy. Had I known, I would have gone for it, after experiencing how effective it is on hindsight.

Heal Your Gut, Heal Your Skin

It felt like a year of progress for my son, Z’s eczema condition. Last December 2018, Z had another eczema outbreak after a bout of HFMD. In Jan/Feb 2019, we consulted a naturopath doctor who used blood testing to determine her patients’ food intolerances. It was a major revelation for us to find out that Z was intolerant to potatoes, and a combination of dairy and grain. The test also revealed he was lacking in potassium. We started him on an elimination diet, eliminating potato, dairy, gluten and egg. He was prescribed glutagenics, digestive tonic, potassium cell salts, and non-dairy probiotics to kickstart his gut-healing process.

[Why the gut? The gut is responsible for the digestion of food, absorption of nutrients and excretion of waste. In the case of a food intolerance, the gut is unable to digest it, or works very hard to digest it, thus wearing out the gut lining. When the gut lining wears out, toxins then starts to leak out from the gut and into the system, leading to a compromised immune system. People may experience gastro-intestinale disorders, skin symptoms, neurological symptoms, respiratory disease, metabolic/endocrine/hormonal disorders, muscular-skeletal disorders, and reduced immunity.]

The doctor pointed out that Z’s dark eye rings are a sign of yeast infection and food intolerance, and she prescribed him a garlic supplement (in liquid form) to clear the yeast infection.

[What causes yeast infection? Possible causes are the use of antibiotics and vaccinations.]

After 3 months or so, we saw considerable improvements in Z’s skin. Most of the eczema on his neck and limbs cleared up, except for a stubborn patch on his left arm.

Being on a potato-free diet is challenging, because many commercial products like bread, pre-made paste, pre-made sauces, cereals, biscuits, cookies, all contain some derivative of potato or potato starch. For eg. baking powder, iodized salt, synthetic B vitamins (found in fortified cereals, bread, milk etc.). On hindsight, although not being able to consume these foods seemed like a decrease in his quality of life, but in fact, he’s consuming higher quality fresh food which is a lot healthier for his body. He has not fallen sick from the time we started treating his gut!

Heal your gut, heal your skin. Treat your gut, gain your immunity.

 

 

New Natural Eczema Management Routine!

zephy's eczema improvement

As of the start of 2018, I tried out a new eczema management routine on Z who’s 5 year old.

How this new routine was birthed:

Dec 2017 – Z had a bad flare up of eczema during our trip to Malacca. Eczema spots erupted on his face, and the spots on his limbs became more severe. When we returned home, we brought him to see our naturopath doc who also practises TCM. Dr Raymond combines both knowledge in his practice. After he saw Z, his assessment was that the body is detoxing due to Z’s slowed-down digestive system. The detox process would take 3 weeks. He told us that in meantime, Z should also abstain from banana, cereal, artichoke, pumpkin and cucumber. This triggered my memory that Z ate quite a number of bananas and cereals in Malacca. So alas, those were the culprits for the flare up. We were also advised to feed Z vitamin C.

At around the same time, I started Z on DNA probiotics for kids, and DNA OPC-3 chews for kids, after having done some research that probiotics and OPC help with skin improvement. We alternated his intake – 1 OPC chew on one day, 1 probiotics chewable tablet on the next day.

I also tried out Dermaveen moisturiser and Dermaveen bath and shower oil since the previous moisturisers did not seem to be working. The effectiveness of Dermaveen products lies in the colloidal oatmeal.

(Update 2021: We stopped using Dermaveen due to paraffin liquidum – also known as mineral oil. Mineral oil blocks the skin pores from detoxing naturally and eventually caused inflammation on my son’s eczema spots.)

3 weeks later (Jan 2018) – We went back to Dr Raymond for a review. This time, Raymond assessed that Z had clogged up mucus in his sinuses and it is slowing down his digestion, which is causing the detoxification through his skin. Z was prescribed herbal meds in capsule form to clear up his sinuses. Next review in 1 month’s time.

1 month later (Feb 2018) – Z finished his meds. Raymond assessed him and reported that most of the sinuses has cleared up and his skin was under control. There was some mucus residual at the front portion closer to his nose, but it would dry up by itself. Thus, Z did not need to be on more meds. Praise the LORD!

Next step: To monitor. Review in 1 month’s time.

Ongoing routine for Z from Jan 2018 to Mar 2018 (today):

  • Alternating 1 OPC chew and 1 probiotics chewable
  • Dermaveen moisturiser applied after every shower or when the skin looks a tad dry
  • Dermaveen shower and bath oil at every shower
  • ChildLife Vitamin C once a day
  • ChildLife Fish oil once a day
  • Topical application of diluted oregano oil (from Young Living) on chest and back to improve immunity of his respiratory system 2-3 times a day
  • Abstain from eggs, yellow noodles, cucumber, cereal, artichoke, banana, and pumpkin (it’s not a food allergy or intolerance but a temporary abstinence until his sinus and digestion is sorted out completely)
  • Occasional application of aloe vera (fresh from the leaf) on eczema spots when the weather is hot and humid. I peel off the leaf layer and rub the aloe vera gel directly on the skin. This plant is worth buying! It thrives in Singapore weather, drier sandy soil, and the cooling effect of the aloe vera soothes itch.

The results of this natural routine have been amazing! Every person’s body make-up is different, hence I believe the routine will be varied for each person. It took me trial-and-error, and being sensitive to God’s leading, to arrive at this.

For those of you who are keen to find out more about the products used in this routine, I will be happy to share what I know 🙂

Coconut Oil for Eczema

Diluted frankincense was great for smoothing out the skin, and healing the broken skin, however it left my DS’ skin quite dry. On cooler days, we see improvements, but it flares up more on hotter days. Just yesterday, the weather was warmer, and we are beginning to see new patches on his cheeks which is so disappointing. I feel my heart racing up and down with the condition of his eczema-plagued skin. It’s been 1 year 4 months since its 2nd onset. The almond figs tea which cleared his 1st round of eczema when he was 18 months old does not appear to work as well for him now.

Hence, the search and waiting upon God continues.

I decided to try out virgin cold-pressed coconut oil as a moisturizer instead of his usual physiogel ai cream as I was hoping to switch to something more natural and affordable. Hoping it works as well, or even better.

Praying everyday for breakthrough.

Frankincense #1

This shall be a short excerpt documenting the use of frankincense oil on my Z’s eczema patches.

I decided to give this oil a shot after reading up how it reduces the redness of skin without the risk of “steroid-withdrawal” symptoms. It’s been 5 days since I began applying on Z’s arm joints which flared up on 6 Oct.

(Taken on 16 Oct – some improvements in his right arm and I also noticed less scratching)

The ‘Good Angel’ Prayer

psalm--prayer

Reading this verse reminded me of my children’s request for my husband and I to pray for the good angel to watch over them while we put them to bed. Every night without fail, they will remind us to include that line in our goodnight prayers. If we had forgotten, my 5 year old will run out of the room with a worried frown upon his face.

Not sure when this concept entered these tiny minds but I am glad it did – that they found safety and protection in spoken prayers. It shows their pure child-like faith in God which sometimes, I am guilty of not having. I have much to learn from my children.

Raising children is truly a season of spiritual journey for adults. Ups and downs there will be. Emotional joys and setbacks there will be. But overall, the spiritual growth is what counts and makes us better people. The outcome being intangible gems which captivate our spirits and souls.