• Kathryn Hulland

What supports your mental & physical health?

You may know I live with chronic illness and recently went through breast cancer treatment, these are just a couple of things my poor body has been put through, I have in fact lived with health conditions since the age of 8 and so have in that time tried quite a considerable amount to help me both physically and mentally! It is because of these I discovered healing and the one thing that has helped me the most is my meditation and reiki and I love being in a position to offer this to others. The other thing that helped me throughout my life was having horses and ponies to turn to for escape!

Many who live with chronic illness and a diagnosis like cancer etc. really hate people making suggestions like "have you tried yoga" or "have you tried herbs" because they feel by saying this their conditions and the seriousness of them is not being understood. Suggestions don't bother me, as long as they are not suggested in a way that:

(a) it is believed it will cure me

(b) that the person doesn't think I'm causing my illness/not helping myself if I don't try them or they don't work

(c) the person doesn't think I'm not already trying all I can

(d) they can accept that something that helps one person will not necessarily help another

If there's something out there that has helped someone I'm always open minded about it's possibilities to help me. I'm all for ideas that might help support my body and wellness whilst living with chronic illness. I have quite a few tools that really helped me during cancer treatment and continue to, I've also tried some that did absolutely nothing for me but others swear by them.

One problem I've had when trying these things is affordability. Most of these aren't something you do once, you have to keep going to see a benefit, but you have to be able to afford to do that.

This my list of what I love and what supports me now:

  • Reflexology

  • Massage - but it has to be the right kind

  • Reiki

  • Essential oils

  • Hot baths with Epsom salts and oils

  • Mindfulness & other meditation

  • Time in nature

  • Time with ponies

  • Reading when brain fog allows

  • Pacing, rest and asking for help

  • Seeing friends

  • Plant Based diet- I fluctuate but am vegetarian and have very little dairy. When I'm strict I do notice a benefit

  • Eating plenty of fresh fruit and veg

  • Drinking lots of water

  • Group support - I took part in a moving on from cancer support group and a chronic pain support group and both brought some benefits and understanding to what I have experienced. I do think these would have been much more beneficial had they been in person, but sadly thanks to Covid this was not possible.

  • Counselling - I have found this useful on and off. There's times when it has really supported me and given me clarity but other times when I step away from it.

  • Painkillers when needed, I try not to take them but there are days when they are vital!

Things I am planning to try:

  • Yoga - I'm seeing someone who can guide me on some basic exercises and see how I get on, so not full on classes. I do feel stretching will help, it's just finding at what level I can manage it & the right person to guide me. We are also focusing a lot on breath and the vagus nerve.

  • Herbs - I have tried before and not noticed a benefit, however I do believe they can help support the body and I'm looking into different concoctions and may well try a herbalist again - it's unaffordable at the moment whilst I try other things.

  • Bee Pollen - I tried it years ago and couldn't see any benefit but I've been given some bee pollen so I'll try again!

  • Cider vinegar- I did take this during my cancer treatment, I'm free of cancer... did it help? I'm going to start again as I'm intrigued by the Glucosegoddess findings on how it can help level out glucose when taken at certain times.

  • Magnesium- I may try this again in future, I have found it beneficial in the past. I have also seen a horse's behaviour change massively when given it so do believe if you're lacking it you need it topped up!

  • Kinesiology- something I've wanted to try for a while.

  • Allergy testing

  • Acupuncture


On the fence/maybe I'll try again one day:

  • Homeopathy- because I tried it years ago and it didn't benefit me, but I know people who swear by it!

  • Bowen - I tried this many years ago and didn't notice a difference. Again I know people who swear by it and it is one I may try again one day as I think part of the issue was not being able to afford continuity of treatment

  • Multi vitamins - I take them - do they help? No idea!

What didn't work for me:

  • CBD Oil - I gave it a really good go and it cost me a lot of money but sadly no miraculous benefit!

  • Graded Exercise Therapy

  • Turmeric - tried this for a long time but no noticeable difference when I'm taking it. I do add lots to some meals!

  • Probiotics - I never saw a difference and after research have concluded they aren't needed if I'm eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and veg.

  • Sports Massage - this made me so ill, I flared for months afterwards and couldn't get out of bed.

  • Garlic supplement

  • Peppermint supplement

  • CoEnzyme Q10

  • Glucosamine

  • Magnesium spray

  • Ginseng

  • Prescribed meditation - other than some painkillers I have never got on well with prescribed meditations including Amitriptyline, Pregabalin and Gabapentin, I find they just make me feel so out of it and have their own side effects. Withdrawal is never nice either! There are various medications the doctors have tried me on over the last 20 odd years but for me I find a natural holistic approach best for me, that's not to say they aren't beneficial for others.

What has helped you that you'd recommend trying?

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