• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Why conventional medicine is not complete solution to illnesses, by Nwakwesi


By Ngozi Okpalakunne

Ifeyinwa Nwakwesi is a conventional medical doctor who is now an integrative lifestyle specialist. In this interview with NGOZI OKPALAKUNNE, she spoke on the need for humans to embrace integrative life style for the improvement of general well- being. While advising Nigerians on dietary choice, talked about the relationship between stress and breast cancer in women and the way forward. Excerpts:

What is the integrative lifestyle concept all about?

Integrated lifestyle is a comprehensive approach to enhance various aspects of our lives, including health, relationships, marriages, and financial challenges. Conventional medicine holds part of the solution to illnesses, but it’s not the complete answer. Take for instance, during a heart attack, immediate medical intervention is necessary, but relying solely on medication throughout life isn’t ideal due to potential toxic effects. Integrating conventional medicine with nutritional supplements, a healthy diet, and a positive lifestyle is essential. In the past, my mindset was profoundly negative. But today, my outlook has transformed. Before stepping out, I affirm that things are working in my favour. This shift in mindset has been pivotal. It illustrates the potency of integrated lifestyle in rewiring our thinking for positivity, which ultimately shapes our experiences.

How does this work, and how do people benefit from it?

The integrated lifestyle isn’t just a passing phase. It is a habit that becomes ingrained due to the persistence of habits. Habits are challenging and your behaviour stems from your mindset, beliefs, and emotions. Every action originates from your thoughts; even if you consider a negative action, interrupting that thought process can prevent its execution. Integrated lifestyle fosters an awareness of your ability to make choices and decisions in life. It underscores your power to determine your path. While we pray for guidance, it’s essential to remember that we must take action. God doesn’t intervene directly; instead, our thoughts and prayers set the tone. As the Bible says, “As a man thinks, so is he.” We need to impart the understanding that we are primarily responsible for the outcomes we experience.

You possess a conscious and a subconscious mind. Your conscious mind enables thought, while your subconscious mind controls your body functions, often operating beneath conscious awareness. What’s intriguing is that whatever the conscious mind communicates to the subconscious, the subconscious accepts without question. For instance, if you repeatedly tell yourself that you’re “managing,” your subconscious internalises this and perpetuates that state. In contrast, declaring that you are healthy and vibrant, can breathe life into that affirmation. The key lies in understanding this power. One should recognise that the spirit of God within an individual grants such person a conscious and subconscious mind. Whatever you feed into your subconscious, it accepts as truth.

What is your advice to Nigerians on dietary choice knowing that it contributes to a person’s well-being?

Nigeria is indeed endowed with a rich abundance of fruits and vegetables, a vast variety of plants that can contribute to our well-being. However, we often lack the knowledge on how to harness their benefits. Our eating habits are often centred around familiar foods, and in many cases, we tend to over consume, leading to various health issues.

I would like to advise my fellow Nigerians to be mindful of their dietary choices. While our traditional foods are generally healthier than the American diet, it’s essential to incorporate water-rich fruits and vegetables into our meals.

There’s an array of fruits available around us. Consider blending them into smoothies as the body tends to digest liquids more efficiently than solid foods. Take for instance, vegetables like bitter leaf, ewedu, and ugu are readily accessible options that can be blended into nutritious juices.

To further promote a healthy lifestyle, I encourage Nigerians to cultivate small gardens around their homes. Even if you have limited space, growing your vegetables can make a significant difference. This way, you won’t always need to rely on the market for your produce, which can be challenging for those living in smaller apartments. By taking such steps, we can improve our overall health and make the most of our local resources. People should also avoid stress, because it is one of the factors that can lead to breast cancer in women.

You talked about relating stress to breast cancer, which unfortunately, more women seem to be dying from nowadays. How can they combat this?

Certainly, the field of psychosomatic medicine underscores the profound connection between our mindset, spiritual well-being, and overall health. It’s well-established that stress, particularly stemming from toxic relationships like an unhealthy marriage, can have dire consequences on one’s well-being. Stress has a debilitating impact on the immune system; consistent stress weakens its defenses. Studies have even shown a correlation between women enduring stressful marriages, especially those marked by abuse, and an increased risk of breast cancer. This insight underscores the importance of women taking charge of their lives and well-being. We advocate for women to recognise that their lives are precious and not worth sacrificing for a marriage that’s causing harm. If a marriage is thriving, that’s wonderful.

But if it’s causing prolonged stress and pain, it’s crucial to consider one’s health and future. Staying in such a marriage solely for the sake of children, for instance, can have dire repercussions on health and well-being that ripple out far beyond the relationship itself.

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We also emphasise the value of self-reliance for women. Depending entirely on a man for one’s future and security can be risky, especially when not all men possess the qualities of a responsible and caring partner. While a husband can certainly contribute to one’s happiness, it’s a mistake to believe that they should be the sole determinant of it. We should realise that our own choices, attitudes, and decisions play a significant role in our overall happiness and well-being. Absolutely, my perspective is grounded in personal experience, not just theories pulled from books. I share insights based on real-life encounters.

Many women have reached out to me, revealing the challenges they face, some living with husbands who haven’t been intimate with them for years. This lack of emotional and sexual connection is a prevalent issue, often linked to various factors, including the reality that numerous men suffer from low libido. The underlying reasons for this can be complex, with many men relying on prescription drugs that impact their sexual performance.

A significant proportion of men grapple with issues like reduced libido and erectile dysfunction, often due to the narrowing of blood vessels. When these vessels are compromised, blood circulation to the male organ is impaired, leading to difficulties in achieving and sustaining an erection. In such cases, the woman’s efforts might seem futile. Moreover, a considerable number of men are on medication, particularly for prostate-related problems. It’s crucial for women to understand that performance concerns might actually be indicative of serious cardiac issues. Instead of fixating on performance, focusing on holistic health should be the priority. Respect and understanding play pivotal roles in maintaining a healthy relationship. Men, especially when stressed or preoccupied with financial matters, might struggle to fully comprehend the nuances of love. I often advise women that respect is an integral part of nurturing a healthy dynamic. It’s a two-way street, if you don’t respect your husband, his ability to reciprocate affection might also suffer. This is why the biblical principle of mutual respect and submission is emphasised. Some women express the sentiment that they must be married to gain significance or recognition. However, this mindset is not accurate. Being married is wonderful if the relationship is fulfilling, but a woman’s identity and value extend beyond marital status. It’s vital for women to empower themselves, cultivate resilience, and foster confidence. Walking into a room with a sense of self-assuredness and independence is far more empowering than seeking validation solely through marital ties.

As a woman change advocate, how in your opinion, can women help change the society?

I appreciate the presence of women who are both outwardly beautiful and possess inner virtues. I have little regard for envious individuals. It’s disheartening to see women who appear beautiful, but lack qualities like peacefulness or the ability to promote harmony, choosing instead to remain silent in the face of conflict.

For societal change to occur, women must take the lead.

In essence, to see real change in our society, women need to step up, embrace their role, and model the values that will uplift and transform our communities.

For someone who clocked 70 few months ago, I must say you look good. How did you achieve this look?

I express gratitude for my life. It’s remarkable how my energy levels have changed knowing that in the past, I struggled with low energy and depression. Now, at this age, I am free from pain, arthritis, and headaches. All thanks to this integrated lifestyle. It’s why I’m so passionate about sharing it with others. Success isn’t determined solely by background or education. Making mindful decisions and focusing on the positives are key.

What lessons have you learnt about life?

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is the importance of self-improvement. Enhancing your life is pivotal for your well-being and your sense of responsibility. Rather than seeking someone to blame, take charge of your life. Don’t dwell on factors like having had poor parents or facing difficulties with your spouse. Assume responsibility, work on self-improvement, and become a person of value. Make your presence known and leave a positive impact.