Fear, anxiety, shame, guilt and hatred are all negative emotions that create unhealthy sates of attachment. Holding on to any of those painful or dishonorable emotional states will shut down the brain's ability to learn. That's according to Dr. Jennifer Wyman-Clemons who is on a mission to help people live more healthfully and whole.
Wyman-Clemons is board-certified in holistic and integrative medicine (ABHIM), allergy and immunology (ABAI), and internal medicine. At her practice, she treats the body, mind, emotions as well as family dynamics and spiritual wellness. Yet if a patient needs traditional medications, she is fully qualified to prescribe them.
Wyman-Clemons is building her own Ideal medical practice, patterned after the brainchild of Pamela Wible, MD. Wible had been reaching out to depressed physicians for a few years, piecing together America's dirty secret about physician-suicide. Then, when she herself became depressed, Wible started receiving letters from patients who wanted better medical care from more nurturing physicians.
So Wible began shifting away from traditional healthcare, with all its abuses, to engage her patient-community at town hall meetings. She aspired to learn what they needed from her, their healthcare provider.
Similarly, Wyman-Clemons is holding town hall meetings and is teaching better life skills now so her patients can rely on medications less. "Overemphasizing the medical approach to things, which has been going on for a while, is missing the big picture," Wyman-Clemons said.
Wyman-Clemons knows about the big picture because she was homeless when she was just 10 years old. She had run away from abuse and ended up in foster care when she was 14. She readily admits that she had a lot of self-esteem issues going into adulthood as a result.
She went through twelve step programs and psycho-analysis and admits it helped but it wasn't until much later, when she was enduring a lot of back pain and needed surgery and realized each time her back would flare up that traditional medicine was really not working.
So she started looking into alternative healing. That's when she attended Reiki master training, with William Rand, in Seattle and had deeply spiritual experiences in trance where she revisited her childhood experiences of rejection and abuse.
Wyman-Clemons said the psychoanalysis she had received earlier with the 12-step programs were absolutely helpful, but none of those talked about love. "Reiki is all about channeling unconditional love from masters," she said.
"I know that just being hugged for 18 seconds is enough to release oxytocin and open that path to healing," she said.
"I could never look at a patient as being separate from me or as being better or worse from me because we're all light beings," she said.
Wyman-Clemons spoke about a number of lesser-known causes for disease and said when a person hangs on to negative emotions, the body is kept in an acute stress-response state, or the framework known as "fight or flight." When that happens, health is negatively impacted.
Wyman-Clemons said the brains of those experiencing chronic fear and anger are shown in brain scan studies to have larger amygdalae. That's in contrast to people who use abstract thinking more, and employ rationalization instead of fear. They have smaller amygdalas.
Yet hope is not lost. "Meditation has been shown to facilitate sense of wellness and it will shrink the amygdala and improve brain function," Wyman-Clemons said.
"To make one minor lifestyle change, when you change a perspective, such as alter a relationship or switch something in diet, then every molecule and cell of your being, including your body's enzymes, must suddenly adapt to accommodate that change," Wyman-Clemons said.
"Change has an impact on thyroid function, on adrenal function, on thymus function, all these glandular functions that really do have a strong impact on our health," Wyman-Clemons said.
When someone stops smoking, for example, the body must adjust to lower toxin levels and even the nerves must realign to find a new equilibrium without that nicotine.
Wyman-Clemons said if someone who inherited a fear of crowds can choose to stop reacting to their body's fight or flight responses, and the doctor has detailed advice for how patients can do that, then they can take control when breathing too fast, or suffering panic attacks, and can simultaneously begin to improve their brain's biology so it doesn't keep happening.
To contact Wyman-Clemons, call (253) 278-3111. Also visit drjenwyman-clemons.com.