Updated: Aug 28, 2021
CULTIVATING YOUR MICROBIOME Ayurvedic and Chinese Practices for a Healthy Gut and a Clear Mind.
By Bridgette Shea, L.Ac., MAcOM
Bridgette Shea has been practising traditional healing modalities for over 20 years and is an experienced licenced acupuncturist and wellness educator.
In her book “Cultivating Your Microbiome”, Shea weaves the knowledge and practises of Eastern Medicine (both Ayurvedic and Chinese) that have been tried and tested through millennia - into perspective for the modern western mindset.
In part one of the book, Shea explores the body’s microbiomes, their functions, compositions, the internal structures, organs, processes, and mechanisms that support and facilitate effective intestinal health. Eastern Medicine, often referred to as the ancients, perceived that most disease begins in the gut. For anyone interested in improving their knowledge and understanding of how Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine views and works with the body’s digestive and immune system to positively affect intestinal health, Shea shares information and practises in a remarkably easy to read form.
Chapter four highlights the recent recognition of organ status given to the mesentery and the interstitium by Western Medicine, which have been a well-known part of Eastern Medicine for millennia. Both organs play indispensable roles in the functioning of the microbiome. With this knowledge, I have added these organs to the Lifeforce/Biodynamics Protocol Statements list in my Dawson workbook.
In part two, Shea shares the Eastern Medicine’s perspective and true meaning of diet and food and what these incorporate. She examines the physiological systems, pathways and processes involved in digestion and immune protection and how the influences of varying aspects of diet impact the delicate balance of the microbiome.
Contained within this resource, I found new knowledge and some relevant and timely additions to my toolkit, for practice and general expansion of awareness. In chapter seven, Shea’s focus was restoring the natural intelligence of the body. This has a direct correlation to the Dawson Program philosophy - that is, the body is a self-correcting mechanism when given the appropriate stimuli to do so. From the text I was able to formulate statements to assist in locating energy system blockages to add to my Dawson protocols.
Shea has much wisdom and many practical suggestions to enhance our quality of life. One of these that we can all integrate into daily practise, is the importance and effectiveness of correct breathing techniques. According to Shea, “the Breath is the Bridge”; that is, “the breath is the Bridge between the body and consciousness, the body and our vitality, the body and the mind, and the body and our awareness of truth” (p158). Shea states the steps to Build Breath Awareness; “The breath also connects us to the consciousness and memories anchored in the bodily tissue” (p158). These breathing techniques are yet another tool to add to the Dawson Program toolbox to assist the body’s self-correction process.
In conclusion, Shea shares Eastern Medicine practises for developing internal balance through, “getting to know their bodies, minds, habits and beliefs better” (p171); … “a process of making health-based food and lifestyle changes” …which is referred to as a dietary reset.
For me, this was an important, timely and interesting read. It brought to my awareness new perspectives, knowledge, and clarity of understanding to familiar aspects already within my knowledge field.