Creating Wellness in Everyday Life

Beth Irvine Health Guide
  • I reach past my reflection in the mirror of my medicine cabinet to what lies behind the door. On those glass shelves I find alchemy of herbs, medicinal products and conventional elixirs. I use a combination of these things in caring for my body, all the while remaining true to the most basic doctrine of medical law—first, do no harm.


    As a health care professional, as a mother, as a teacher, I feel that I serve as a translator, interpreting from one language, one health system to another. I speak and respect the languages of both complementary and conventional medicines. My educational background as a registered nurse is in conventional medicine, while the past ten years of my life have been dedicated to understanding the intuitive wisdom of the body.

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    In 1995 I was living in the suburbs of London with my three small children and my husband whose career in finance had brought us to England. I was working as a nurse teaching classes in Lamaze (a technique of breathing awareness used in childbirth) and taking care of our three- year-old twin girls and our newborn little boy.

    We lived in a fourteenth-century cottage with a thatched roof and walls three feet thick. We had a tiered garden leading onto a forest behind the house where the trees created a canopy for the children, a fairy-like playground.

    Our first clue that something was wrong with Sam, our little boy, was his sudden outbreak of an angry rash that grew to cover his entire body.  I immediately scheduled an appointment with the head of a prestigious pediatric dermatology clinic in London. Sam’s case was so severe that the doctor asked if a photo could be taken for his dermatology textbook. When I heard the diagnosis, ‘a classic case of atopic dermatitis,’ I felt completely gutted. Sam’s skin condition was inherited from me and I was terrified that he would struggle with eczema, as I had, his entire life. The plan was for Sam to be hospitalized. However, because I was a qualified nurse and experienced with this type of treatment, we were allowed to treat him at home. 


    We began the standard protocol of cortisone ointment and heavy emulsion followed by wrapping his entire body in bandages. Over the next two years, Sam underwent morning and evening soaks in oatmeal baths and layers of bandages applied to the skin. He looked like a mummy. For me it was truly hard to believe there was a sliver lining to be found anywhere. I realize now that it took something this big and scary to give me the courage to step outside of everything I had been trained to do to help others. I had to find a new way to help my son.

    Over the next ten years, Sam and I learned about natural food, yoga, meditation, and a myriad of other ways for the body to heal itself. I learned to walk that grey line to accept both conventional medicine and complementary medicine as modalities to help. We both now live free of eczema. It was a skin problem I had lived with for thirty-five years. I learned how to let my body heal itself and perhaps more importantly, taught my son how to do the same in the process. It is really very simple: if my body gets out of balance, my eczema comes back.


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    My life, now, reflects my passion for healing the body and feeding the soul in the same way the wide mouth of a river feeds the belly of the sea. I believe there are many ways to create a disease-free, healthy life. As a mother, I had to leave no stone unturned.

    My enthusiasm is to encourage you to create wellness—to prevent illness before it occurs. By maintaining a higher standard of health and wellness we not only raise the quality of our day-to-day lives, we also take the pressure off our current health care system. I want to empower you to reach beyond the boundaries of conventional medicine and reclaim the wisdom that has been lying dormant in your body all along.  The wisdom that I have gained about the true nature of wellness is reflected both in the objects on the glass shelves of my medicine cabinet and in the face I see in the mirror.

    As a contributor to health central, my hope is to give you tools of prevention and, in doing so, to empower you with ideas, techniques, and solutions that ultimately will bring balance, health and true well being into your life.  For more information on how I can help you log onto

Published On: June 02, 2008