Natural Health: Our Must-Read Stories of 2022

In 2021, we were all about protecting the physical: Our bodies, surrounding communities, frontline workers. We were largely living in survival mode, just trying to make it from week to week as new COVID variants with new exigencies entered the public lexicon. We listened, we adapted, we struggled, and we careened to the finish line, hopeful that 2022 could bring us something maybe … not so unprecedented. 

This year didn’t exactly deliver us the sense of uneventfulness we had wished for, but (but!) it did give us an opportunity to re-center ourselves. We were reminded that there is no ‘health’ without our mental health. Like the ancient Chinese philosophy of yin and yang, we sought after some highly-overdue balance. And that’s where Northwestern Health Sciences University, our locally-based, globally-connected integrative healthcare leader, came in: Providing answers (sometimes, to questions you didn’t even know you had) in how our big, beautiful brains can heal us, provide clues to bigger health issues, and even be rewired to help us tamper down our overactive fight-or-flight response. Below, catch up on the articles you read, clicked, and engaged with the most.

Eastern Medicine Turns ADHD On its Head 

Diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are on the rise. According to a recent study, the diagnosis jumped more than 30 percent in just seven years, from 2010-2017. Eastern medicine considers ADHD a syndrome or a collection of symptoms rather than a singular disease. Unlike Western providers, who rely on diagnosing and prescribing targeted medications, Chinese medicine approaches ADHD through a more holistic lens. 

Local Long Haulers Find Relief in Traditional Chinese Medicine

More than 500 million people worldwide have had COVID, and it’s estimated that close to half still contend with symptoms four months after infection. While no test to diagnose long COVID exists, patients at a Twin Cities natural health clinic are using a combination therapy of ancient tools and modalities to treat mystifying symptoms.

The Vagus Nerve: It’s Mind Over Matter

The vagus nerve is having its moment in the sun right now—a whopping 76.7 million posts mention the hashtag on TikTok—and when you cut through the noise and learn what it is (and what it most certainly isn’t), you can actually activate it to your advantage, says Erik Reis, DC, board-certified chiropractic functional neurologist at Northwestern Health Sciences University. “Understanding the vagus nerve and its role in regulating our nervous system is vital for optimizing health and recovery,” he says.

How Our Bodies Keep Track of Trauma

Grief is just one common response to a traumatic event, often underscored by what is lost or missed as a result of that event. But trauma, as explained by one natural healthcare expert, is a significant experience that starts as psychological.“Trauma isn’t necessarily a result of the event,” says Alane Lucht, DC, LPC, LADC, assistant professor of massage therapy at Northwestern Health Sciences University. “It can be a traumatic event, but it’s not psychologically traumatizing until it gets stuck in your system when our bodies override the natural response to dissipate the energy around a traumatic event. We override that constantly.”

Preparing for Perimenopause: A How-To

The years between the ages of 40 and 55 just so happen to be when children transition away from home. And when careers achieve peak responsibility. And when aging parents start to face health challenges. And when planning for retirement kicks into high gear. These life events individually top lists of life’s biggest stressors. So when you stack them all up, one on top of the other, and add a life-changing biological transition to the mix too … Well, it’s no mystery why menopause can be a time when depression strikes, perhaps for the first time in a woman’s life.

Located in Bloomington, Northwestern Health Sciences University is a premier integrative health institution that prepares the next generation of healthcare professionals deliver and advance healthcare, offering 11 areas of study. Its clinics and TruNorth Wellness Hub are open to the public to support healthier, better lives for all, including Bloomington Clinic, Sweere Clinic and the Human Performance Center.

See more content from Northwestern Health Sciences University. 

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