It’s 2020, and you’ve made a resolution to be healthier (again). Here is a breakdown of 6 health professionals you must have on speed dial, and why they can help.
Registered Dietician Nutritionist (RDN): RDNs could possibly be the most important piece of the wellness puzzle outside of your primary care physician. Why? Their extensive scientific training and background help to demystify the train wreck that is today’s diet industry. If you have been struggling with fad diets, agonizing over eating “bad” foods, or simply want to know how to grocery shop the right way, you need to see an RDN. Signs that food might be causing problems in your life: frequent bloat, insomnia, headaches, skin issues, chronic fatigue, and depression (among others). Food is medicine….seeing an RDN can be a game changer.
Physical Therapist: Many folks think that you need to have surgery before seeing a physical therapist. Or maybe you think physical therapy is just about exercise. Wrong on both! You can see a physical therapist to treat conditions such as headaches, back pain, TMJ (jaw pain), vertigo (dizziness), balance training, or general weakness. A good therapist will not just prescribe exercises, but take the time to put their hands on you to work the muscles, joints and tendons that have pain.
Licensed Psychologist: We are lucky to live in a time where mental health is a topic that is no longer taboo. Every single person, regardless of their past, can benefit from speaking with a licensed psychologist. Each one of us experiences life, love, and trauma differently. Psychologists give us the tools to cope with life’s daily stressors and can be an incredible outlet. Many employers and schools now offer limited visits with psychologists as an automatic benefit. Be sure to check with your organization to see if this is something you can take advantage of.
Massage therapist: Of course I am a bit biased on this one, but a great massage therapist can do so much more than relieve sore muscles. Massage has been shown to decrease stress by tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system (the part of your nervous system that tells you to “rest and digest”). It can improve circulation, promote drainage of toxins, decrease incidence of headaches, and manage chronic pain. There are many specialties of massage, including emphasis on athletes, cancer patients, or fibromyalgia patients. The Relaxation Corporation works with a vast array of local massage therapists and can make a great referral upon request.
Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac): An acupuncturist uses very small, nearly hair-thin needles to puncture the top of the skin to promote blood flow and “qi” (energy) to areas of pain and dysfunction. Acupuncture can treat a whole range of disorders and can be appropriate when traditional manual therapies don’t seem to be doing the trick. A common scenario that I see with acupuncture is this: someone has chronic headaches and the touch of a therapist’s hands, whether through massage or physical therapy, is too intense. Seeing an acupuncturist could provide a more passive way to treat the area of need. Something to note about acupuncture…..not all acupuncturists are created equal. Look for someone who has either a Masters or PhD in oriental medicine and has made Chinese medicine the focus of their education.
Primary care physician (PCP): This seems like a no-brainer, but many people still fear going to see their doctor. Your PCP is going to be the gatekeeper for many of the services mentioned and may be the difference between whether or not insurance will cover them. If your doctor writes you a prescription for massage, physical therapy, acupuncture, etc., there’s a much higher chance that your insurance or health savings account will cover these services. Getting your annual physical will also give you the data that you can take to a registered dietician to get you on the correct nutritional plan. If you haven’t seen your doctor in the last year, make this your most urgent goal of 2020.
A final thought: Health and wellness takes a village and is not something that should be tackled alone or by asking “Dr. Google”. Many disciplines related to health are requiring more stringent educational requirements, which is great for all of us. Take the guesswork out of your conditions and go straight to the experts. Below is a list of my favorite wellness practitioners in Lincoln.
Registered Dietician Nutritionist: Bridget Easley, MS, RDN, LMNT
Physical Therapist: Complete Physical Therapy
Licensed Psychologist: Dr. Kelly Brey Love, PhD, PC
Acupuncturist: Joe Wollen L.Ac
Primary Care Physician: Bart G. Bellamy, DO at Williamsburg Family Physicians
Massage therapist: Please contact The Relaxation Corporation for a referral