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Kimberly Burns, OTR/L, CLT – Perspectives – REAL Health

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Discovering Health: What’s In Your Tool Box?

By Kimberly Burns, OTR/L, CLT

Most everyone has a toolbox of some sort. A tool box is generally thought of as a physical area that we keep special tools that you use around your home to maintain and repair household items. It contains different unique tools that you use alone or in conjunction with other tools. A therapist’s tool box may consist of different tests, a variety of therapeutic interventions such as different exercises, knowledge and other tools that we call modalities that we will use to help with a patient’s injury or disease. Parents with children that have special needs may have their own sensory tool box with activities to stimulate all of a child’s senses to improve the ability to develop. If you want to live in good health and fight injury and disease, being your own health advocate and gaining knowledge of what is available will assist you in developing your own wellness toolbox.

Your wellness toolbox should contain physical and cognitive strategies for what your body needs related to diet, self-care, exercise and movement, relaxation, pain management, cognitive functioning. Just like a repair tool box, your wellness toolbox should contain a unique set of tools that you can choose from to address the specific need your body may be having

As you begin your practice of developing your wellness tool box there are a few words that should describe you, or how you could be, if you are going to succeed in becoming your own health advocate and learn to manage your health daily and successfully.

Consistent: Regular practice is necessary to learn and experiment with all the tools there are to help you manage your health in a way that meets your body’s sensory and physical needs. If you use the tools/interventions regularly and in the appropriate manner, good results will naturally occur.

Adaptable: You need to be able to adjust to the changes that may need to occur as the result of trying something. You may need to put up with a difficult process or provide more attention to completing an activity in order to see results. Sometimes what you feel works for a particular ailment will not always work due to what you may need to do that day or it may be unavailable for use.

Open Minded: This is a hard one for some as they have predispositions to what will work or what they want to try. There are also a lot of therapies that you wouldn’t even give the time of day to, but you can always learn something from them even if it’s the extent someone will go to find comfort or make sense of the world. And if it works for them and they are happy, who is to say how farfetched they really are.

Positive: Don’t let the negative thoughts creep into your head. “I’ve had this for years and nothing helps.” “The doctors say there is nothing more they can do.” Have the spirit of “I am still going looking for the thing that will work to help me manage this disease from spiraling out of control.” They are out there. You just haven’t discovered them yet. Keep searching and believing there’s an answer. Be determined. You will find what works for you. Change how you think and you will find new doors opening up.

Proactive: In managing your health, what is most important is being proactive vs reactive. Proactiveness will keep your body well before you have symptoms to treat. If you already have a disease like spondyloarthropathy, which is a type of arthritis which has its own set of rules to play by, you know that it is an inflammatory disease. Being proactive would be to look at lifestyle changes needed specific to the cause and effect of the nature of this disease. Being reactive would to treat the symptoms of the disease such as the swelling and pain that have already occurred. All the while the condition itself goes on, continuing to cause these symptoms and multiplying.

And my favorite word “Particular” when you know what works for your body and gives the relief you may not have had in weeks, months or years, be particular with the items you use. All things are not the same. Generic is cheaper for a reason. While it may work well for one person, your particular condition and body make up is different, and responds differently, and may not have the same result as using the brand name item. The same is true for medication, food, clothing and even the toothpaste and shampoo you use.

Being your own health advocate means taking the time to understand what’s going on within your body and following your intuition on how you feel. Develop your senses and attention to detail. Don’t accept that the only route to go is medication or live with it. Get second options. Learn about all the interesting research that is out there on new techniques through verified medical websites and journals. Dedicate time to learning about how they affect the body and if it’s something that’s going to work for you.

Take it one day at a time and keep looking forward!

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Kimberly BurnsKimberly Burns, OTR/L, CLT, is an Occupational Therapist with over 14 years’ experience working with clients ranging from infants to the elderly. She has always had passion for wellness and what she could do at home for herself to manage pain and delay disease processes. Her recent certification in Lymphedema Therapy has provided her further incentive to focus her business around preventing disease and halting its progression. Kimberly Burns, OTR/L, CLT – (215) 499.0444 – KimBurns@SensoryIntuition.comwww.SensoryIntuition.com.

Copyright © 2015 REAL Exclusive Magazine www.getrealexclusive.com
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