AHHA SELF-HELP ARTICLES COLLECTION
   


Jan DeCourtney, C.M.T., C.N.A., B.A., practices in Boulder, Colorado where she integrates therapeutic massage, the 3LS Wellness Program, wellness coaching, and a variety of other healing modalities into a dynamic program of health and wellness care for her clients. She is co-author of Recapture Your Health with Dr. Stoll and Managing Director of the Stoll Foundation for Holistic Health. Visit lifespringarts.com.



Walt Stoll, M.D., holistic health expert, author of Saving Yourself from the Disease Care Crisis, and co-author of Beyond Disease Care and Recapture Your Health, has played an important role in promoting holistic health in the US. Dr. Stoll was a founding member of the American Holistic Medical Association, and had over 30 years of training and experience as a physician and another 17 years teaching holistic health. Dr. Stoll passed away in 2011. His legacy of helping people find their path to health continues through the Stoll Foundation for Holistic Health. Visit stollfoundation.org.


The American Holistic Health Association has compiled a collection of self-help articles to support your efforts to enhance your own health and well-being.

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HOLISTIC PERSPECTIVE FOR DEALING WITH AN ILLNESS
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The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health

"There are many paths to the top of the mountain." This statement by the great sages of human history can be used to describe the various ways to reach the goal of vigorous health and wholeness. Although this is true, in more than 38 years of professional experience working with thousands of patients struggling with a wide variety of conditions, we have found one particular path to wellness most reliably and effectively helps the largest number of people with the greatest success. We recommend this path to you as the most important thing you can do to improve your health.

This path to health is called the 3LS Wellness Program. Named after the image of support, stability, and balance of a wooden 3-Legged Stool, the "3LS" Wellness Program consists of the three practices most likely to help improve anyone's health condition: Relaxation, Diet, and Exercise. We have found the most effective practice of these three is accomplished as follows:

  1. Practicing an effective form of Skilled Relaxation for 20 minutes twice a day. Skilled relaxation means any relaxation technique or practice that induces a deep state of relaxation of both body and mind (characterized by an alpha or theta brainwave). You can use a practice you already know or learn a new one. Examples of relaxation practices include affirmations, applied relaxation, autogenics, biofeedback, breathing techniques, chanting, imagery, meditation, mind machines, progressive relaxation, self-hypnosis, t'ai chi, or yoga. Any technique that induces a relaxed state can be used.

  2. Following a Whole Foods Diet. A Whole Foods Diet means eating foods which are whole. Whole foods have not had any essential part taken out, so their nutrition is complete. Whole foods include all kinds of fresh and frozen vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, eggs, fats, herbal teas, and certain condiments and seasonings. This means eliminating foods from your diet that are refined (some part has been removed). Thus you would not eat, for example, grains in the form of white flour or white rice, and vegetables which have been peeled such as peeled potatoes. Also totally eliminate all sugars, alcohols, caffeine, starches, and alcoholic beverages.

  3. Finding and doing the Right Exercise for you. Right exercise means regular exercise (at least 3 times a week) of any kind sufficient to create a positive, sustained improvement in your metabolism and how you feel. This may gradually lead to doing Aerobic Exercise 20 to 30 minutes, 3 or more times a week.

These three practices work together. They are fundamentally interconnected, and each enhances the effects of the other. Careful practice of the three legs or parts of the 3LS Program can greatly enhance your health overall, and many chronic symptoms will clear up totally. The benefits of the Wellness Program come from helping your body heal itself, because that's the only way you can truly be healthy.

This general outline of the 3LS will benefit most people's health. There are further specifics and details for achieving the most efficient reversal of chronic symptoms using these practices. However, even just beginning to follow the very general guidelines presented in this article will start most people on a path of health and healing.

If you have a specific health problem or chronic condition that you are wishing to heal, for fastest results, start the 3LS Wellness Program and practice all three parts as perfectly as possible for at least six months to a year. We have seen this basic short-term health benefit program produce the quickest and most certain benefits for the largest number of patients. However, since results are individual, some people will get better sooner while others will take longer.

After you are feeling better, continue practicing the 3LS for maintaining that good health, as well as for preventing countless health problems. You may not have to be as diligent and perfect with it when you reach this stage of improved health. However, it is also all right, and often a good idea, to practice the three legs of the 3LS Wellness Program diligently forever.

To begin: Choose the aspect of the 3LS that interests you the most -- Relaxation, Diet, or Exercise -- and start making it a part of your life. After you've done that practice for a while and feel comfortable with it, add another one. While you can start all three practices simultaneously (if the main focus of your life is health improvement), most people do better starting with just one. So pick the one practice you would enjoy doing the most, and begin there.

How the 3LS Wellness Program works: The 3LS aims toward enhancing the function of the bodymind. The term bodymind describes the reality of how closely the function of mind and body are interrelated. Anything that really helps any part helps the whole, because everything works together and is interconnected like a spider's web. The 3LS improves the web of a person's total function, which allows the bodymind to do the job of rebalancing and healing itself. The human bodymind is really the most powerful tool that we have for healing and preventing illness.

A wooden 3-Legged Stool balances well on all three legs. Similarly, the 3LS Wellness Program is most effective at rebalancing your health when you do all three practices comprehensively and simultaneously. Each aspect of the 3LS enhances the others in an exponential way, creating a synergistic effect. It works like this: let's say you get 3 points for doing one leg. When you add a second, you get 9 points rather than 6. If you add the third activity, you get 27! Our normal thinking is if we get 3 for each part, we get 9. But the way in which the body, mind, and spirit respond to our efforts is not 3 plus 3 plus 3, but 3 x 3 x 3. Everything directly affects everything else.

Practicing only one or two parts of the 3LS Program will still bring you health benefits. However, there really is a synergy or power generated by doing all three aspects of the program simultaneously. This explains why eating Whole Foods won't address or resolve all the problems without also adding Skilled Relaxation. And Exercise won't solve everything by itself. The best, and quickest, results are obtained by utilizing all three legs at the same time. However, you do not have to start all three practices simultaneously. As we mentioned, when just beginning, most people would be better off choosing one practice and then using the benefits from that activity to have the energy to begin the next.

The best way to avoid and resolve many chronic health conditions is to be too healthy to have any of them! The 3LS Wellness Program approach to health can help you do just that.


This article has been adapted from the book, "Recapture Your Health: A Step-By-Step Program to Reverse Chronic Symptoms and Create Lasting Wellness", co-authored by Walt Stoll, M.D. and Jan DeCourtney, C.M.T.