Tips to manage symptoms, reduce pain, and transform your life with endometriosis.
By Jacqueline Elizabeth, founder of Holistic Academics and creator of the energy-filled Facebook Group Education, Advocacy, and Accountability for heart-centered EndoWarriors committed to reclaiming their lives from endometriosis.
A life-altering decision was made for me and my journey with holistic healing began.
Six years ago, I was told abruptly that I would have to immediately stop taking the medication that had helped keep my endometriosis symptoms manageable for the 10 years prior.
My world was crumbling and I had severe anxiety over “starting over” with the trial and error of medication regimes to find something else to help me manage my symptoms. The symptoms that had had me in bed two weeks a month from severe pain and fatigue. The symptoms that had kept me from making friends and attending events. The symptoms that made me feel less than.
I couldn’t go back to those days.
I couldn’t be out of control again.
And so, right then, in the exam room, listening to the trio of specialists tell me that my life depended on changing my treatment plan, I decided to stop relying on Western medicine to manage my endometriosis. I decided to take back control and empower myself through holistic healing.
But why holistic treatments?
Because I wanted more for my body and my health than my ability to manage my symptoms being tied to a prescription.
And it worked!
Over the past 20 years of battling endometriosis, like my life depended on it (which it did!), I found a way to be blessed with 10 amazing years of being almost completely pain-free.
That wasn’t until after I had gone through multiple surgeries and multiple failed attempts at understanding my triggers.
It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I finally was pissed off enough to pick myself up off the floor and demand a different outcome.
And because I made it to the other side, I know YOU can too.
I’m not a magician.
I’m not a purple unicorn.
I was just a pissed off EndoWarrior who liked the library.
I discovered new ways of thinking, new ways of healing, new ways of interacting with the universe. And now I’m here to share that with YOU.
This article provides an overview of a few different alternative therapies that have helped me (and many others) find peace and joy in our lives again, free from our endometriosis symptoms.
Let’s start with some background.
Why do traditional therapies often struggle to provide sustainable results?
Traditional “treatment” of endometriosis includes any of the following: birth control, chemically induced menopause, ablation surgery, excision surgery, hysterectomy, and even giving birth.
While each of these may have their place in a well-guided treatment plan, oftentimes these options are being offered without a clear understanding of endometriosis or how to treat it.
For those who do understand endometriosis, the gold standard is excision surgery.
However, there are a number of barriers to that option being viable for most EndoWarriors. Education of both doctor and patient, expense, and access to specialists (let alone qualified specialists) just to name a few.
But the real reason why traditional therapies often struggle to provide sustainable results is because they treat the surface level symptom. They do not treat the root cause.
Why take a holistic approach to healing?
Alternative and integrative medicine look holistically at YOU as a PERSON.
A whole person.
Try to determine the root cause and then treat the root cause.
It looks to the emotional and spiritual connection to the physical symptoms.
It takes into account the symbiosis of the universe and the symbiosis that exists between you and your environment.
But how does one go about incorporating holistic healing into their wellness plan?
Well, that’s the best part.
Holistic methodologies can be implemented alongside traditional treatments with little to no interference.
Here are my top 5 recommended alternative therapies to support healing chronic illness like endometriosis.
These 5 alternative therapies are what I have found the best results using to support healing of my endometriosis.
Hypnotherapy and Meditation work off of the same principle that the human mind operates using only a portion of its brain and there is serious untapped potential in the unconscious mind. By training the mind to think a certain way we can retrain the unconscious mind to keep our conscious mind in check. Here are some cool resources on hypnotherapy and meditation focused on pain management.
Acupuncture, Reiki, and PEMF are all based on energy work. Acupuncture uses needles to disrupt or reroute energy flow within the body. To turn off or on sensation in certain areas of the body. PEMF uses electromagnetic pulsed frequency to simulate healing at a cellular level by activating specific cells’ innate frequency. And Reiki uses one person as a conduit for energy to be provided to another person for self-healing.
By now acupuncture is relatively common (or at least not uncommon--insurance is even starting to cover certain services!). PEMF is coming on trend and now offers the ability to purchase a personal in-home system at more affordable prices. Reiki is the most complex to describe and certainly the most woo-woo of these three alternative therapies. I was not a believer until I had a virtual session during COVID. I was so convinced of its healing abilities that I am now a Level II Reiki Practitioner and practice reiki on myself almost every day.
We could just stop it here with these 5 alternative therapies of holistic healing. But I know there are a number of overachievers in our midst. And that’s why there’s more!
For those of you interested in building a sustainable holistic self-healing regiment, this next section is for you!
There are 5 basic components of holistic healing that are needed to obtain sustainable results in symptom relief from chronic illnesses like endometriosis.
Each of these 5 components addresses an aspect of the holistic pyramid to support a healthy immune system and reduce inflammation. These are all holistic approaches that can be implemented at no additional cost. There are tons of free resources online to help you navigate each of these components to ensure you are supported from all sides of wellness. If you are looking for more personalized support, the EndoWellness Warrior Project is still enrolling and tackles each of these components one by one as they relate to your specific circumstances.
We take for granted. Food is so much more powerful than we give it credit for. It has the ability to heal our bodies or destroy our bodies. By focusing on the food we consume, we can choose to limit the number of toxins our bodies have to process. We can limit the number of food sensitivity causing reactions, which limits weight gain and endo belly. We can choose to fuel our bodies with nutrients and reduce the number of supplements and medications needed. Did you know there were foods that support lowered blood pressure?!
After tackling food, mindset is usually the next on the list of holistic healing techniques most widely used. Pain is not just a physical response--it is psychosocial as well. Meaning pain has emotional and behavioral responses as well as physical. And yet traditionally we only treat the physical symptoms. Working through our mindset barriers can reduce and sometimes eliminate pain responses from chronic illness as well as acute illness. Industry is catching on and apps like Sanvello and Curable are now trending.
Learning to communicate clearly about health related concerns is not something largely focused on in western families. Most of the time these topics are taboo. So how do we accurately express our experience to the doctors and professionals trying to help us? By strengthening our self-advocacy and communication skills. This applies the same to discussions involving family members and friends. Our support systems won’t know how to best support us if we cannot tell them how we need to be supported (they aren’t mind readers!).
This is likely the hardest component to implement. For spoonies, movement is a luxury most days. But is also one of the most important. Getting up, stretching, walking, moving in any way helps circulate blood and oxygen flow. It helps strengthen muscles and create flexibility. For EndoWarriors especially movement can actually help loosen painful adhesions making later movement easier than before. It can be a painful road but the benefits are so worth it.
This is the most critical component to ensuring sustainability of those amazing results the other 4 components are giving you. In order to stick it out long-term, you need to create accountability to yourself AND to others. Give back to your community by keeping yourself accountable. Other spoonies watching you will thrive off your drive and action and you could end up inspiring so many others to start taking action. How cool is that?! Creating community and a support system with a side of accountability!
When you combine the 5 alternative therapies with the 5 components of sustainable holistic healing, you set yourself up for success. You are fueling your body and mind with exactly what it needs to manage your symptoms (or even eliminate them), reduce your pain, and transform your life with endometriosis!
I encourage you to explore different types of traditional and non-traditional therapies until you find what works for YOU and YOUR endometriosis! Wellness is not a one-size-fits-all, but with the right amount of research, patience, perseverance, and persistence you CAN have the life you desire, free from your endometriosis symptoms.