There’s an unspoken epidemic happening right now and I want to address it. You’ve probably heard of long Covid, which is when people have lingering symptoms after a Covid infection, but I’m seeing a deeper and more complex story with my clients than is not generally being reported in the news.
Long Covid is one of many “post-viral” syndromes that can cause a whole host of issues that may seem unrelated. Post-viral syndromes have been around for years, they’re what cause Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (aka chronic fatigue), and are suspected as one of the factors in other diseases as well. Long Covid and other post-viral illnesses happen when the body still has some of the virus circulating in a small amount, or when the body gets stuck in a cycle of inflammation from fighting off the illness, or both.
This is why you can have long Covid even if you never actually “got” Covid – we’ve all probably been exposed to the Covid virus at this point, and while some people didn’t get exposed to enough virus particles to cause full-blown Covid, they did get enough to cause long Covid. These people probably never tested positive for Covid because you need a certain amount of antibodies to test positive, and their antigen/antibody levels were too low to detect.
In addition, I think that the same people who have a higher risk of autoimmune issues from being in the freeze/fawn (aka people pleasing) nervous system response are also at a higher risk of getting long Covid. This is borne out somewhat by the data, which shows that the rate of long Covid among those that tested positive is 10.1% of men and 17.9% of women (women tend towards freeze/fawn more than men.) Although, I think the rate is even higher when you take into account that people can get long Covid without ever testing positive for Covid.
The symptoms of long Covid are varied and can look different in each person. Post-viral syndromes often have a few things in common, like fatigue and brain fog, but because Covid is an RNA virus and can cross the blood-brain barrier, there are a host of weirder symptoms that doctors may not think of as the typical post-viral issues. (If they even know about post-viral issues at all! This has historically been an area where medical gaslighting is rampant.)
Here are some of the symptoms of long Covid:
- Tiredness or fatigue that interferes with daily life
- Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental effort
- Brain fog (trouble thinking clearly or finding words)
- Short or long-term memory issues
- Depression or anxiety that often comes on quickly and then leaves
- Chills and night sweats or other sudden changes in body temperature
- Sleep problems
- New allergies to foods or your environment
- New sensitivities to odors, chemicals, light, touch, or noise
- Change or decrease in taste and smell
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, especially when climbing stairs or hills
- Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations) that comes and goes
- Muscle weakness and joint pain
- Pins-and-needles feelings in your arms and legs
- Warm or swollen legs or feet (if this is the case, please see a doctor immediately, it could be a blood clot)
- Digestive issues like diarrhea, stomach pain, or acid reflux
- Changes in appetite or types of food you crave
- Menstrual cycle changes
- Hair loss
- Weight gain or loss
- A general feeling of being “inflamed”
Obviously this is not an exhaustive list, but if you’ve noticed any of these popping up in the last 3 years, it could be long Covid. Since long-covid affects so many body systems, I’d suggest finding a holistic practitioner to help you out, like a functional medicine doctor, a naturopath, or an energy healer (like me!) There are steps you can take to improve your symptoms and get your body into a better balance so that it can oust the Covid virus and start the healing process.
Before I became a medical intuitive, I was on my way to becoming a doctor. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that western medicine was lacking in some way, and it wasn’t until I found energy healing that I could see why. Now, don’t get me wrong, I use western medicine all the time. If I brake a bone, I’m heading straight to the ER and not to my acupuncturist. But you’d better bet that after the bone is set and the pain medication is in my system, my follow-up is going to be with alternative health practitioners who work with the body to help its natural healing process.
Here are 5 limitations of western medicine that I see after a decade of experience as an alternative healer:
- There’s very little awareness of the mind-body connection
It’s only been in the last 10-15 years that western medicine has got on board with what other medical and healing traditions have known for centuries — your mind and body are part of one system, and they can’t be treated as separate. For example, we now know that a great deal of our emotional regulation is done by the microbiome in our gut, and that the health of that microbiome can be a large part of our sense of well-being. We also know that when we dull pain receptors (with Tylenol) we also dull our ability for empathy. Mental and physical health are one and the same and separating them makes western medicine less effective.
- Only treats what it can observe
Western medicine relies solely on the scientific method and the scientific method is limited by what we can observe and measure. What this means is that if we can’t use a scientific study to observe and measure it, then doctors aren’t trained in it. For example, it’s hard (but not impossible) to observe things like meridians, chakras and other aspects of the energy body and so these are often dismissed by western medicine as “unproven” ways of healing. I don’t have any problems with scientific methods, but it often misses out on methods of healing that can’t be easily observed and measured.
- Medical science is evolving, and sometimes the treatments can do harm as well as good
In the last 170 years since the age of scientific reason started, science has “proven” a lot of things that have later been disproven or shown to not tell the whole story. For example, once antibiotics were discovered, they were given to people all the time. Twenty years ago, it was common to take a course of antibiotics 3 or 4 times per year for various infections. We now know that these antibiotics harm the delicate balance of bacteria that keeps our digestive system, lungs, reproductive systems and even our skin in healthy, working order.
- Western medicine operates within the limitations of the imagination of the human mind
One of my favorite quotes is from Hamlet, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.” Our human minds can’t possibly understand all the intricacies of the universe. Just like it would be impossible to teach a hamster calculus, there are things our human minds just can’t conceive of. So, if you’re relying on only your human mind and its ability to reason, then you’re missing out on a LOT of possibilities. Healing traditions that know this and defer to the body’s wisdom for healing, like energy medicine, acupuncture or craniosacral work to name a few, can achieve results that would be considered impossible for western doctors. But your body has knowledge that your brain does not — it’s connected to “all that is” and can operate with wisdom beyond that which our brains can conceive of.
- It has a one size fits all approach
If three people walk into a doctor’s office with gastric reflux, there could be three different reasons why. One may be an epigenetic issue causing too much stomach acid. Another may be anxiety causing peristalsis paralysis in the esophagus. And the third could be a malformed esophageal sphincter. But most often, the doctor will send all three away with a medication that reduces stomach acid. There’s a reductive approach to western medicine that says “If symptom A is occurring, then do treatment B.” But the complexity of the human system is too great for a reductionist model— it needs a model of emergence and constant change. This rigid reductionism too often fails the patient, and leaves them feeling like there’s no treatment option for them.