When it comes to raising a child with autism, or any child for that matter, it is important to look at as many resources as possible to ensure the best possible outcome. When I was provided with the opportunity to preview Dr. Kathy Gruver’s book, Journey of Healing: One woman’s path to healing self and others, I was thrilled to accept. Dr. Gruver has a fascinating life story to share in her book as well as some tips on nutrition, meditation, reiki, massage, homeopathy, herbs, affirmations, cancer, hypnosis, and more. I got to interview Dr. Gruver as well. You do not want to miss what she has to say!
- What inspired you to write this book? I wanted to find a way to share even more health information with the public. I realized that through my experiences with these modalities it gave people more personal identification with how they can be used in their lives. And I realized that more and more people were interested in my personal stories of health and healing so I thought it was time to tell those as well.
- You have quite a list of educational accomplishments. Can you tell my readers what your degrees are in? I started out way back when with a bachelors degree in theatre of all things (sort of minored in psychology). I have a doctorate as a traditional naturopath and a Masters and PhD in natural health with an emphasis in mind-body medicine. I’m also a Reiki Master, a certified hypnotherapist and a licensed massage therapist. Who knows what I’ll add next but I’m running out of space on my business card.
- Your book talks about a variety of healing methods. In your experience, which are the most effective? That is such a great question. Frankly the best modality is the one that works best for you. To me you have to look at it like a team. You wouldn’t have your dentist fix your car, you wouldn’t have your plumber try to do your computer set up. As much as specialization can get us into trouble I think it is important to have a multitude of practitioners to choose from. Of course, because I’m a massage therapist I think massage can do a world of good. But I’m also a huge fan of chiropractic, homeopathics and energy work. I think you have to see what fits into your belief system, time frame and wallet.
- You went on many exciting trips during your discovery of healing. What was your favorite? There were two that stood out for a multitude of reasons. My trip to Egypt was absolutely mind-blowing and life-changing. It was such a different culture than I had ever experienced before and it was a dream since I was a child to stand in front of the pyramids. I actually got to meditate in the king’s chamber of the great pyramid and it was a completely life altering experience. And my trip to England back in ’08, I got to stand at Stonehenge, another childhood dream, was also mind-blowing to me. You grow up thinking about these places never sure if you’re actually going to get to go there and when you finally make it it’s such a huge accomplishment. Both of those trips, which I did solo, were mind expanding and evolutionary processes for me.
- Many of the people that read this blog have children with autism or are autistic. Have you come across anything that works well with sensory processing disorders and/or autism? Every year at my naturopath conference there is a different expert talking about the latest research into autism and developmental disorders. A few of the things that stood out to me are the vitamin D connection, the cholesterol connection, and the food connection. It seems that in many cases cholesterol is incredibly low in those people dealing with autism, that can be adjusted with food and supplements. Adding vitamin D in as a supplement can also help with cognitive functioning and it seems that there is definitely a food connection in many people with autism in that they cannot handle wheat and certain food additives and preservatives. Introducing a more selective diet can certainly be helpful as can adding in high amounts of cholesterol and vitamin D. Of course you want to do all of this under the supervision of a physician. I have wondered whether massage would do much, but haven’t had the opportunity to experiment with that.
- Can you tell us, briefly, how diet influences ADHD and autism? Right now we are being inundated with fake processed food. A lot of those chemicals including things like MSG and artificial sweeteners can certainly exacerbate conditions like ADHD. In talking to parents of children who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD seems to be a definite diet connection. Some people theorized the GMO’s are causing a lot of these problems there are not clear links to that, yet. I have seen situations where things like wheat, certain sugars and certain additives and preservatives are definitely making autism symptoms worse. Certainly there is no mystery that what we put in our bodies effects our brain function, our physical body and our behavior. Children have much smaller bodies than us and need to be given even better food than they’re getting now. I certainly don’t mean to make a blanket statement about that. There are certainly people that feed their kids the best food and are still suffering from these conditions. It’s such an individual thing and each person dealing with that diagnosis needs to be looked at as an individual and have their bioindividuality examined and respected.
- Aromatherapy with essential oils is a really big thing right now. How much stock do you think people should put into it? Yes, it’s been popular for quite some time. I think it really depends on how you use it. And working with someone who really knows what they’re doing is going to be helpful. Just walking into your drugstore and getting a bottle of aromatherapy, smelling it and expecting it to heal you is probably not going to happen. But there is some great evidence backing up the use of scent and aromatherapy in changing physical conditions of the body. It’s pretty complicated science and I definitely recommend talking to someone who knows what they’re doing before you dive into it. Also remembering not to take most oils internally.
- You have written quite a few books on meditation, stress, and massage. Do you have any plans for a future book? I keep saying no but I have several more books in my head. Right now I’m focusing on working with the books I have written rather than starting on another. But I would venture to say in the next 12 months another one will at least start in the process.
- What is your favorite book? Oh jeez, everyone asked me that. I can’t say that I actually have a favorite book. I don’t get to read much these days but I tend to read non-fiction. I love Carolyn Myss, Herbert Benson. I think one of my favorite for fun books was Lamb by Christopher Moore and I loved the books by Dan Brown.
- Can I get a free massage? I could really use one… Of course, get over to Santa Barbara, it would be my pleasure. 🙂
It was such a pleasure getting to know Dr. Gruver. If you want to see her speak, she has a great reel on YouTube, which you can find below: