by Lou Mancinelli
Your diet, the way you react to situations, how mindful you may or may not be, the vitamins you do or do not take and how you carry yourself from day to day all contribute to your overall well-being now and in the future.
So claims Dr. Georgia Tetlow, M.D., an Ambler practitioner of integrative health, an approach to the practice of medicine that combines traditional western allopathic methods and evidence-based alternative and holistic approaches to healing.
For example, something like chronic leg tension, or anxiety, can be a result of internal processes. Sure, one may work hauling boxes and armoires for eight hours a day on a moving truck, but there are still things that must be done to relieve the body of its tension. Diet, lifestyle, sleep, exercise, stress reduction and other factors are all crucial to overall health.
When you are tired, hungry, angry or afflicted with chronic pain, the way you react as an individual and the way you acted in the past all contribute scenes to the story that is your health. Maintaining a healthy being is about understanding the synthesis between mind, body and spirit and acting in ways that support that synthesis.
“I take the best of conventional medicine,” said Dr. Tetlow, clinical assistant professor of rehabilitative medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Center City, “and combine it with expertise in holistic and alternative systems.”
At her clinic, the Resiliency Center at 602 S. Bethlehem Pike, Dr. Tetlow offers the five traditional branches of integrative medicine in addition to conventional medicine. She offers expertise in mind/body relationships, biologicals (herbal remedies, supplements), knowledge of alternative systems, body-based methods and evidence-based energy medicine.
Imagine going to a medical doctor who has taught yoga for more than 20 years, who can train you in mindfulness meditation and the ancient Indian practice of Ayurvedic Medicine (a word formed by two Sanskrit words, “ayus,” meaning longevity, and “vedic,” meaning knowledge of). That is what you will get in a visit with Dr. Tetlow.
Perhaps you have chronic leg pain that no conventional doctors have been able to help assuage. Dr. Tetlow could offer another conventional opinion, as well as prescribe alternative testing and treatments, using both conventional and alternative medicine.
At initial sessions, Dr. Tetlow spends 90-minutes with patients. She creates an extensive list of not just a patient’s medical history, but also about one’s life, mind, body and spirit. She picks up health cues from body language. During follow-up visits, she spends up to an hour with patients.
“We know that what really makes a difference in someone’s health are lifestyle choices,” said Dr. Tetlow. “Which, in turn, have to do with self-esteem and our relationship with our self.”
A 2010 “Psychology Today” article about mindfulness, for example, refers to Jeff, a successful software engineer, who suffered from crippling social anxiety and from panic reactions. The article states that Jeff would notice his heart racing, and he was obsessed with worry that he would faint right in the middle of an event or presentation. He hated leaving home and was fearful of any new situation.
“In a session of Mindfulness Therapy,” the article says, “Jeff learned to identify these habitual patterns of anxiety-producing thoughts and then learned to sit with the feeling energy that surrounded the thoughts at the heart of the emotional reaction. Rather than becoming consumed by the contents of the anxiety thinking, he learned to focus attention on the feeling itself.”
Jeff eventually learned his anxiety was associated with bright colors, intense reds and oranges. When he realized this, he was able to understand the energy and lower his anxiety.
In today’s world, with smart phones providing up-to-the-second updates and eating away at private moments like an overbearing July sun, it is easy to get stressed and swept up in a fast-paced life.
“Lots of times when we are stressed we think it is because of others,” said Dr. Tetlow. “Because of our relationships, or our jobs, or lack thereof. But research shows that most often our actual stress triggers are our own thoughts, feelings and sensations, not external events … A constant state of flight or fight contributes to most forms of chronic illness.”
In 2000, after teaching yoga for 14 years, Dr. Tetlow, a 1999 Antioch College (Yellow Springs, Ohio) pre-med graduate with a degree in environmental and biological sciences, then 26, decided she “wanted to become part of the medical community.”
That’s when she moved south to attend medical school at the University of North Carolina. After becoming an M.D. in 2004, she completed her residency at Jefferson Hospital in 2008 and a mindfulness teacher’s practicum in 2007, and served as medical director of integrative medicine in a large rehabilitation network in the Lehigh Valley following her residency. In 2009, she opened her solo integrative practice.
For more information visit www.BeingMyBestSelf.com or call 888-702-7974.