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Cultivating Your Microbiome

Ayurvedic and Chinese Practices for a Healthy Gut and a Clear Mind

Published by Healing Arts Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

A holistic guide to improving your gut flora for better physical and emotional health

• Explores the influence of the gut microbiome and the mesentery on all other bodily systems, especially the brain and immune system

• Explains the central role of the digestive system in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine and how these systems treat the microbiome

• Presents herbal remedies, acupuncture and acupressure techniques, and dietary methods to restore balance to your gut flora, including a microbiome reset

In traditional medicine, such as Indian Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, the digestive system and microbiome are recognized as the foundation for good health. Our internal flora influences our immune system, brain function, hormonal balance, cravings, sleep, mood, inflammatory response, digestion, nutrient assimilation, and elimination.

In this holistic guide to cultivating a healthy microbiome and managing gut health naturally, Bridgette Shea explores digestive functioning from the perspectives of both Western science and traditional medicine. She examines Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine principles on digestion and constitution types. She reveals how, in addition to describing what we now call the microbiome, traditional Chinese medicine also has long recognized the importance of an abdominal organ that modern science has only recently ­acknowledged: the mesentery, the tissues that connect and support the internal organs.

Going beyond probiotics and prebiotics, the author presents practices from Ayurveda and Chinese medicine to reestablish balance in your internal microbiome, support the mesentery, improve digestion and elimination, and restore a clear mind and strong immune system. She explains how to read your symptoms, from brain fog and fatigue to congestion and stool quality, and offers herbal remedies, acupuncture and acupressure techniques, and dietary methods to improve your internal health, including a microbiome dietary reset.

Revealing the diverse role that our inner microbial colonies play in keeping us happy and healthy, this book shows that by changing your microbiome, you can greatly improve your physical, emotional, and mental health.


From the Introduction

The human gut microbiome is likely the hottest scientific health topic right now. Even those who don’t know the word “microbiome” are aware of what’s called the gut-brain connection, or the second brain in the gut, and the existence of probiotics. What most people may not know is the extent to which scientists are discovering the diverse roles that our inner microbial colonies play in keeping us healthy and happy. Or how Eastern teachings are chock full of detailed information explaining the importance of the gut, the role of digestion on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of the individual, and how to manage gut health naturally.

Indian doctors practicing Ayurveda have known for millennia that most disease starts in the gut. Like their Chinese medicine peers, they have elaborate formulas for regulating gut health, and highly evolved yet simple dietary guidelines that anyone can follow to reestablish healthy digestive functioning. Think the digestive system doesn’t take precedence over other bodily systems? Then imagine how you’d feel if you were looking forward to an event but couldn’t leave the house because you had diarrhea, or if you wanted to go have fun on your beach vacation but suffered with constipation, gas, and bloating the whole time. Then recognize that this is a daily reality for too many people. Not only that, but since science has firmly established that some chronic, often debilitating diseases and cancers have in common certain bacterial communities in the gut, we have more serious, seemingly concrete reasons to pay attention.

The homeostasis our microbiome constantly works to maintain has not only been mentioned, but emphasized by traditional cultures and medicine systems for thousands of years. Maintaining a balance of humors, doshas, elements, fluids, metabolic processes, thermoregulation, systems of circulation, bodily tissues, life airs, biological rhythms, and yin and yang is the crux of traditional preventative medicine, treatment, and vital longevity. Ancient cultures had people who lived to 100 and beyond. They didn't have hand sanitizer and antibiotics, yet under normal and harsher circumstances than we experience in modern living, they still flourished. And we are here because of them. In such harsh circumstances without the comforts or conveniences of modern society, how did so many of them make it so long?

Perhaps the wisdom to live with optimal health has been within us all along and it's as unique to each of us as our fingerprint. That's right, your microbiome is as individual to you as your DNA, a snowflake in a storm, or your fingerprint. Just like there is only one you, there is only one mix of your individual microbiota. It is interesting to note that the aforementioned ancient medical systems also believed in the concept of individual constitution, not a one-size-fits-all scenario. These unique constitutional tendencies are recognized to require specific diet and lifestyle tweaks in order to stay balanced and therefore, healthy. It is my belief that these ancient prescriptions for ultimate vitality and maximized good health are the best tool we have in lieu of enough science to know what to do to take optimal care of ourselves and our microbiomes. They are vital, living, systems of medicine in practice all over the world today, including, most likely, your own community.

There is a lot of information in this book, and there is a lot of information that isn’t in this book. I want to make clear that this is not a scientific paper, nor is it pseudoscience. It is a delicately balanced blend of what the average intelligent, free thinking, interested human being needs to know from a modern scientific and medical perspective as well as from the teachings of Eastern medicine, in order to understand the microbiome in a way that helps them heal. I haven’t gone into the cacophony of microbes and where they are and what they do. That is something that our knowledge of is changing every day. What doesn’t change are the guidelines Eastern medicine clearly lays out that we can follow to maintain optimal health.

My interest lies largely in managing the microbiome holistically, using the science and wisdom that goes back millennia as a guide, and then implementing it into daily living. If you are serious about truly taking charge of your health and are open to living more according to natural cycles and by common sense in many cases, then read on. If you’re frustrated with feeling drowsy, bloated, unfocused, or unmotivated, if your cycles are disrupted, your sleep disturbed, your emotions unpredictable or stuck in one gear, read on. The information contained in this book is for you. It weaves together what we have always known with what we are confirming daily with the scientific method. Why wait another century until the principles of Chinese medicine or Ayurveda are scientifically proven? Read on to prove them in the lab of your own life and feel free and healthier now.

About The Author

Bridgette Shea, L.Ac., MAcOM, is an acupuncturist, Chinese medicine practitioner, and Ayurveda educator whose private practice is an integration of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. She writes and teaches workshops on Ayurveda, energy medicine, and healthy breathing. She lives with her family in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Healing Arts Press (September 1, 2020)
  • Length: 240 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781620557815

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Raves and Reviews

“Finally! A book demonstrating how the ancient traditional medical systems of both China and India understood the importance of the gut microbiome. The ancients, along with Hippocrates, declared that all diseases begin in the gut. As part of both the digestive and immune systems, numerous health problems result once these delicate flora are disturbed: autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and cancer, to name a few. Reestablishing intestinal health should be the starting point for the treatment of any disease. The research cited throughout this book corroborates over and over what these ancient doctors described in their texts thousands of years ago. A must-read for anyone interested in getting to the root cause of all diseases.”

– Marianne Teitelbaum, D.C., author of Healing the Thyroid with Ayurveda

“As a practitioner of Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, I loved how Bridgette wove these amazing systems of healing with our modern understanding of the microbiome. Cultivating Your Microbiome is a wealth of information and practices that will absolutely serve the seasoned health practitioner. Remarkably, it is also a book that can be read by anyone interested in improving their health and understanding the underlying principles of real well-being. Cultivating Your Microbiome is a must-read for all health practitioners and enthusiasts alike.”

– Jonathan Glass, M.Ac, author of Total Life Cleanse

“A fascinating book on the microbiome! Cultivating Your Microbiome combines the recent Western scientific knowledge and the teaching of the several millennia-old Eastern medicines.”

– Christopher Vasey, N.D., author of The Acid–Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health

Cultivating Your Microbiome is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community and college/university library Holistic Medicine collections and supplemental curriculum studies.”

– Midwest Book Review

"Asian healing methods have always focused on the vital importance of the digestion system to overall health. This is an easy-to-understand book which stills feels challenging and cutting-edge."

– Adam Gordon, Kindred Spirit Magazine

“Blending Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine concepts is never a simple task, but this book does a good job of presenting them mostly individually and adding a healthy dose of nutritional science as it explores the workings of digestive health. The author explains how the digestive tract and its microbiome are the seat of health or disease that influences the body-mind connection. Included are details on how digestion, assimilation, and elimination influence the immune system, hormonal function, brain, and inflammation from both scientific and traditional perspectives. It looks at not only what to eat, but how to eat, suggesting relaxing while eating and carefully chewing food with breakfast as the largest meal and dinner early.”

– Kathi Keville, American Herb Association Quarterly

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