Mother Earth by Kelly Remmer

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A whispered promise leads a mother off the beaten path and towards a reliable source to treat her daughter’s condition.

About three years ago I began to feel uneasy with the conventional methods that were being offered by the medical community to treat my seven-year-old daughter Jessie’s spina-bifida related needs. I was especially concerned with traditional options for bowel and bladder management, such as synthetic stool softeners and the daily doses of antibiotics, whose side -effects I found unacceptable.

I began to investigate alternative methods to assist in Jessie’s well-being, off the beaten path of traditional care and treatment, and my conversion was such that after 15 years in banking I decided to study herbology and aromatherapy full time. I learned that approximately 40 per cent of all drugs and medications originate from plant sources. Whereas pharmaceutical medications treat symptoms, assistance through herbal use targets the source of the disorder. Medications often create an array of side-effects due to their inorganic, synthetic properties. Herbs are used in their whole state, untampered with biologically, and as a result have a tempered, balanced and harmonious effect on the whole human body. An efficient herbal blend will bring more than one benefit to the body so the side-effects of herbal use are the side-benefits.

To assist Jessie in maintaining correct bowel transit time, I use an herbal blend that targets renal and urinary health, as well as other herbs that enhance her immune system to provide strength in energy and rebuilding bodily functions. For the bowel, a blend of 29 different herbs help nourish the colon and promote peristaltic action while the main ingredient, psyllium husk, promotes good stool formation. The bladder aid consists of cranberry extract as well as juniper berry.

Jessie has gone from zero bowel and bladder continence two years ago to being independent in her toileting needs at home. The need for catheterization ceased a year ago. Her legs, which had grown an insignificant amount until then, have not only gained substantial muscle mass but have grown five inches in the last year. She had no voluntary movement from the waist down until one year ago but is now on her hands and knees crawling in perfect symmetry. Jessie experiences no bowel impaction episodes (or constipation) and has not had a bladder or urinary tract infection in over two years. Her health is robust and her vitality sparkles for all to see.

Jessie also receives aromatherapy massage twice weekly at home. This involves the use of essential plant oils blended specifically in a carrier oil and massaged onto the body. These essential oils, including those derived from rosemary, castor and peanut as well as camomile and myrrh, are of great therapeutic value. Massage is an ancient form of healing and coupled with the benefits of essential oils has a dramatic effect on the mind, body and spirit of the individual receiving the treatment. Essential oils, applied in the manner of gentle massage, enter the bloodstream in 20 to 30 minutes, but the effects of aromatherapy are also witnessed by our olfactory sense.

Our sense of smell is directly related to our emotions, and emotions have a tremendous effect on our well-being. Recent research shows that high levels of stress and anxiety initiates the flight-or-fight response or hormone adrenaline, which when in continuous circulation lowers our immune system and makes us more susceptible to disease. Aromatherapy is a tool in which by way of touch, absorption and aroma, assistance is offered to an individual to allow the body’s own healing abilities to combine with the therapeutic effects of the properties of the oils.

Jessie continues to progress in spite of what I was told she would not be able to do. I was given information upon her birth that generalized the condition of the human spirit. That’s a big mistake, especially to a mother who rocked her newborn daughter, whispering softly in her tiny ear a solemn promise: "I will do all I can for you, Jessie, I will help you be all you can be." I look back to seven years ago, not realizing until now that I am fulfilling my promise to her, one that I forgot I had made until just this moment.