PRESQUE ISLE — Spending an hour with Dr. Christiane Northrup, who runs a women’s health clinic in Yarmouth, is like taking a crash course on holistic healing.
In her talk, she speaks of how a woman should listen to her body, how her mind affects her overall health, and how she should take time off from serving others and take care of herself.
Northrup must know what she’s talking about. In addition to her clinic, she is a staff member at Mercy Hospital and Maine Medical Center, is married and has children. She is a popular speaker and teacher and has written a book called “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.”
Northrup spoke at a woman’s conference held annually in central Aroostook County. About 130 registrants, mostly women, attended the daylong session at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
Most of Northrup’s philosophy was not formed during her years in medical school. For 20 years, she has studied and applied holistic medicine, which considers the unity of the body, the mind, the emotion and the spirit.
The most profound wisdom comes from our bodies, Northrup said. And, women are taught to be afraid of it.
“We’re taught that health is a matter of whether you caught a germ,” Northrup said during the conference keynote address.
Women need to learn that if they develop a cold and need to rest, they are not “acting like a revolutionary.” It’s the body telling the woman to take some time off, the doctor said.
Caring for oneself is not self-indulgence, it’s self-preservation, said Northrup, quoting another author.
The immune system is directly connected to the emotions and affected by feelings, according to Northrup, and emotions can trigger recovery from a disease such as breast cancer.
Northrup believes that all women create tumor cells. However, if the “live message” is conveyed, the immune system will eat those tumor cells, Northrup said.
“This culture doesn’t believe that tumors can disappear,” she said, citing studies where there had been immediate recovery from disease.
Northrup cautions her listeners about how they let the media, especially television, manipulate them and ultimately depress their immune systems. Programs that have negative plots, such as involving murder or rape, should be avoided.
While not advocating living life like an ostrich, Northrup asked why women need this in their lives.
“Someone will tell you all the news you need to know,” said Northrup, citing the O.J. Simpson case.
Northrup says that women are taught to believe that if they are too powerful no one will love them. As a result, women have to choose between being beautiful or powerful.
The ideal relationship is one of a partnership, the doctor said.
Northrup talked about addictions and how they may be passed on to generations. People can be affected later in life by incidents that happened while they were in the womb.
“You maybe can’t change what happened to you,” Northrup said, “but you can choose the consequences.”
Northrup criticized aspects of the current method of delivering health care, which is a system created to put on only Band-Aids. However, there’s no effort to find out why a person may be wounded, she said.
She also cited the traditional way of conducting breast exams.