I’ve suffered from eczema since I was a child, but in 2013, when I took antibiotics for nine months, it was the worst it’s ever been. I developed a skin infection, food intolerance and allergies. It prompted me to really figure out not only how to feel better but how to get rid of eczema for good.
So the following year, I decided to go down the holistic path by experimenting with acupuncture and herbal medicine to treat my skin issues. I was also advised to become a vegetarian for six months to detox my body, especially from all the antibiotics that were in my system. Initially, I was horrified at the thought of giving up meat, as I loved it so much. (My dad’s nickname for me was “meat lover!”) Nevertheless, I eliminated it from my diet, along with sugar, dairy, and spicy, salty and sour foods, as they would all trigger flare-ups. I remembered thinking that the next six months of my life were going to be torture and I couldn’t wait until July when I could finally eat normal food again!
My skin did improve through these treatments and changes, and it made me realize the power of whole food and the healing effect that it has on our health.
Then in the beginning of 2015, I was diagnosed with candida overgrowth and my eczema came back stronger than ever. I believe I developed this due to the lack of good bacteria in my body that was destroyed by the antibiotics I took two years earlier, as well as the stress of dealing with my dad’s cancer and his eventual death.
Since finding out that I had candida, I’ve changed my diet dramatically by eliminating sugar, dairy, and wheat, as they flared up my skin. I also continued acupuncture and was told that I have a weak spleen, which is linked to my stomach. So, in addition to my other dietary changes, I’ve been mindful about which foods are beneficial for my spleen (and which to avoid).
In November 2015, I went to Bali and decided to let loose and eat local food which I knew would normally flare my skin up. What astonished me was that during the two weeks I was there, my skin healed immediately within the first few days, despite me breaking my anti-candida diet.
Luckily I had the wonderful opportunity of speaking with Tyler Tolman while I was there and asked for his insight. Tyler is an international holistic nutritionist and health practitioner, as well as a world renowned expert in whole food, initiating a self-care revolution alongside his father, Don Tolman. (In fact, I started using Don Tolman’s all-natural Body Butter for my hands and Golden ReLeaf to prevent me from scratching in my sleep, in an effort to avoid products that contain irritating chemicals.) Tyler shared the wisdom of the seven principles of health, which assists in healing our illness: air, water, sunshine, walking, whole food, non-toxic relationship and passion.
This made total sense to me as I was living the majority of the seven principles of health (except for whole food) in Bali, hence why my eczema recovered in a record rate of less than a week. Whereas back home in Australia, I was living only three of the principles: whole food, water and walking. I got the occasional sunshine and fresh air but not daily compared to Bali. This is when I realized that diet isn’t the only key to healing our health and that without living the majority of these principles, recovering from illness would take a long time.
What opened my eyes even further was when one of the energy healers that I met with mentioned that the emotions linked to candida were anger, anxiety, overwhelm, the inability to let go, stress, sadness, fear, frustration, helplessness, hopelessness, lack of confidence, a sense of being scattered and too much responsibility. This was particularly true in my case as I developed candida at the six-month mark of my dad’s cancer longevity. When my dad passed away, my candida went through the roof as my eczema was the worst it had ever been in my life. Looking back, I can see how my skin issues were directly related to the emotions.
Truthfully, I believe all physical illnesses manifest internally in our body from the emotional, mental and spiritual level. Here are some things I’ve learned about the underlying emotional issues linked to eczema:
- Eczema can be caused by emotional turmoil and the repression of our feelings. Dr. Grossbart insists in his book Skin Deep that we face our emotional issues head on with a commitment of self-love as well as counseling.
- Eczema can also be linked to anxiety, which isn’t necessarily always expressed through worry. It can be anger and a quick temper as a way with coping and dealing with our anxiety.
- Similarly, someone who has undergone high levels of stress, trauma, or suppressed very strong emotions over a period of time can eventually develop skin disorders. This can be from suppressed anger, which affects the liver; or from sadness, which affects the lungs. Both of these organ systems, for example, have direct links to the quality and health of the skin.
In December 2015, I wrote a letter (which I ripped up afterwards) to the people I held a grudge against and, most importantly, my father (who I was grieving for). I poured my heart out to free myself from the negative emotions that were damaging me. It was such a therapeutic exercise and I know it contributed to healing my eczema, which has disappeared for good since!
I believe it was the combination of steps I’ve taken — trying holistic treatments, making dietary changes, using all-natural products, following the seven principles of health, addressing my emotions — that truly healed my eczema. I listened to my body and made decisions that were right for me. It’s been quite a journey, but one that taught me a lot about the ability to heal in a natural, organic way.
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