Guest: Dr. Kathy Gruver
Guest Bio: Dr. Kathy Gruver is host of the TV series; The Alternative Medicine Cabinet. She educates physicians and challenges patients to take control of their health. Offering alternatives to Western medicine, prescriptions and surgery and encouraging the balanced combination of ancient and modern. Involved in natural health for 22 years, educated at Harvard Medical and the National Institutes of Health, earning a PhD. She educates about mind/body medicine, being your own best advocate, massage, reiki, healthy pregnancy, nutrition, homeopathy and so much more. Her first book, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet was selected as a winner of the Beverly Hills Book Awards and finalist for the IndyExcellence Awards. She has written two additional books, Body/Mind Therapies for the Bodyworker and the newly released, Conquer your Stress with Mind/Body Techniques.
Dr. Kathy gruver discusses the benefits of Positive Affirmations and how it can address stress levels in patients. Also discussed are how our thoughts can be adjusted in order to aid physicians and patients in the healing process. Problems with how to classify non-traditional techniques as they pertain to medical billing are also briefly touched upon.
Health Professional Radio
Neal Howard: Hello, you’re listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host, Neal Howard. Our guest today is Dr. Kathy Gruver, alternative medicine advocate and author. Her books, “The Alternative Medicine Cabinet,” “Body/Mind Therapies for the Body Worker,” and her latest released work, “Conquer your Stress with Mind/Body Techniques”. Hello, Kathy, how are you doing today?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: I’m doing great, how are you?
Neal: I’m doing really well. Exactly, what is alternative medicine?
Kathy: Alternative medicine, in a real quick definition, is what your Western medicine practitioner isn’t telling you to do [laughs] – things like lifestyle changes, mind/body medicine, vitamins, massage – I mean, it runs a gamut.
Neal: Now, being an alternative method of healing and being healthier or preventing certain illnesses, how much is mind over matter when it comes to, say, stress, or thinking good thoughts? How does that play into alternative medicine?
Kathy: Yeah, that’s huge, and that’s one of my frustrations that we’re not seeing enough of in Western medicine. You fill out this giant form when you see your doctor and they want to know, “Do you smoke? And do you drink?” But they never ask you what your stress level is. And, to me, that’s one of the keys that’s missing to our health right now. And we can talk about having a low BMI and eating organic, but we’re not talking about the quality of our thoughts. And I think that’s really important.
There’s external stress coming at us that we can’t control. We can control our reaction to those experiences. But what we can control is our thoughts, our reactions, and what we’re thinking and talking about – that is in our control. And that’s incredibly important for health.
Neal: So, say, if we’re constantly thinking, “My nose is running and it’s not going to stop,” or, “This thing that I’ve got is going to just keep growing on my leg.” If we’re thinking positive thoughts about a condition, you’re saying that that helps to treat that particular condition in some small or large way?
Kathy: Yeah, it certainly can. And there’s been so many studies about whether it’s visualisation, affirmations, meditation, hypnosis, and what that knowledge changes our brain, but also what it can do to our physiology. And, we have the ability to lower our blood pressure and make limbs warmer or colder or speed wound healings, speed the healing of bone breaks, shrinking tumours. Now, this doesn’t work in everybody, so, don’t sit at home and think all day about [laughs] – thinking you’re going to [indecipherable 0:02:18]
Neal: Yeah, about this thing in my back, yeah … I’ll just think it away. [laughs]
Kathy: Exactly. It’s an incredibly powerful tool. I think it’s a tool that has to be in the toolbox along with everything else. You know, hammers are great, until you need a screwdriver.
Kathy: And then you need the screwdriver. So, I think we have to bring all this together, and that can be one aspect of our healing. But it’s interesting – they estimate that we have about 60,000 thoughts a day, and that 50,000 of those are negative. Well, that’s a lot of negative thoughts!
Neal: That’s a lot of hurt.
Kathy: And it’s just exhibiting in our bodies. It is exhibiting in the relationships that we have. And, our mind is this giant search engine. So, if we’re putting out all this negative stuff, that’s what we’re going to get. I think if we can change those thoughts, we’re going to be a lot better off. We’re going to see better levels of health.
Neal: So, do you find that when you’re speaking to health professionals about alternative medicine, do you receive a warmer reception from mental health practitioners as opposed to medical doctors?
Kathy: That’s a really good question. When it comes to stress, I think, at this point, people from all camps are saying, “Yes, we need to deal with this problem.” They think right now that between 60 and 90 percent of our doctors’ visits are from stress-related illness. That is both going to the mental health professionals as well as the physical health professionals. I think we’ve all woken up to the fact that we need to be dealing with this stress problem. It’s huge right now.
Neal: It seems to me that if members of all camps are pretty much in agreeance that stress is a major contributor to our doctor visits and our medications and what-not, it’s a mental thing. If you fall off a bike and scrape your arm, you have some stress there because of the pain and the injury, but it’s mostly a mental thing. So, these affirmations – these good thoughts that you’re talking about cut straight to the chase?
Kathy: It does. And if it’s true that we are having these 50,000 negative thoughts, who has ever educated you not to have them? Oftentimes, this was perpetuated in our families and perpetuated with the people around us – watch reality TV – they’re definitely not perpetuating a positive [laughs] thing at this point.
Neal: Yes, yes.
Kathy: Some people say, “Well, I’ll just stop thinking those things,” – that’s incredibly difficult to do. It takes a lot of mind control to just stop thinking something. What we can do, and this is where I really, really like the affirmations, is we can change those thoughts. So, I’ll give you an example – rather than saying something like, “I’m not getting sick. I’m not getting sick. I’m not getting sick,” or, “I hope I don’t get sick,” or, “Oh crap, I’m getting sick.” Whatever I hear people saying a lot – change that to, “I am healthy and well. My immune system is strong and resilient.”
Kathy: And that does one of two things. At the very least, it stops that negative thought, which perpetuates that feeling in our body, and over time, it does deplete our immune system. So, if you keep saying, “I’m getting sick,” you’re going to get sick.
Kathy: It also boosts the immune system. We can actually program things in our body to heal quicker. We all have the ability at some level to do this. It’s a matter of training. It’s a matter of discipline. And, frankly, it’s a matter of somebody telling you, “Hey, you know, this is an option for you.” And I think that’s what’s missing, is they’re not being given these really simple options on how to make these changes. And that’s what I like about using natural remedies and complimentary, alternative medicine, is you look at the person as a whole individual.
And when I sit down with someone to do a health consultation, we talk about what illnesses they suffered from when they were a kid and what’s their level of stress, and what’s causing their stress. And “What’s your diet like? And what foods do you crave?” Ten people walk into my office, we’re going to walk out with ten different treatments, and that’s what I like about it. It’s customised. It’s made for you, not for everybody.
Neal: What we’re talking about is the importance of not using the shotgun technique to treat someone who’s interested in alternative medicine as opposed to traditional medicine, correct?
Kathy: Yeah, absolutely. And the other thing is, when I get to the root cause of the problem, we can manage symptoms all day, but that doesn’t undo what’s causing the symptom. There are times I [indecipherable 0:06:18] want Advil, or I’m having menstrual cramps and they want a Motrin or whatever it is. But ultimately, you want to get to the root cause. Symptom management is lovely, but it doesn’t truly fix anything, and, if anything, it probably throws more side effects [indecipherable 06:35]. So, figuring out what’s causing your problem is really the key. You have to know what the root cause is.
Neal: Great. Now, as far as not being given the options, do you think that maybe some practitioners are aware of some of the benefits of alternative medicine, positive affirmations as opposed to negative thoughts, but don’t mention it or don’t push it for other reasons, even though they’re aware?
Kathy: Sure. I think that’s probably true. I think people tend to go to their Western medicine practitioner for a diagnosis and a pill and a quick cure. So, maybe the doctor holds back because they don’t want to sound airy-fairy, or they don’t want to cross the line into mental health, or there’s some fear of that relationship. And the other thing is, frankly, if you’ve then got to bill insurance, what are you billing for? “I taught them affirmations”? There’s no code for that.
And we’re living in such a code-based society, where if you don’t have the diagnostic code and you don’t have the treatment code and you didn’t write the prescription – so, I think a lot of doctors are leery to mention that, because they don’t know how to do it. They don’t know what to tell them. They don’t want to seem weird or … or not get paid. [laughs] So, I think there’s still some barriers yet.
Neal: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host, Neal Howard. Our guest has been Dr. Kathy Gruver, PhD, licensed Massage Therapist, alternative medicine practitioner and author. Her books, “The Alternative Medicine Cabinet,” “Body/Mind Therapies for the Bodyworker,” and her latest release, “Conquer Your Stress with Mind/Body Techniques”. Lots of great information concerning alternative medicine. It’s been great having you here with us today, Kathy.
Kathy: Thanks, Neal. I really appreciate it.
Neal: And I’m sure we’ll have an opportunity to speak with you again.
Kathy: I hope so.
Neal: Transcripts of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au.