A Holistic Approach To Recovering From Surgery

Written by Jovanka Ciares

I recently underwent abdominal surgery to remove a pesky fibroid that was wrecking havoc in my life. I'm getting stronger and feeling better every day, and am now strong enough to share some of the alternative holistic treatments I'm using to help speed my recovery.


Major surgery that requires full anesthesia shuts down your system for hours, often meaning it takes a while for those systems to wake back up. Since we know digestion is the cornerstone of health and immunity, it's extremely important to consume a diet that's easy to digest, properly combined (to avoid constipation, indigestion, gas, bloating) and densely nourishing while recovering. Some of the things in my diet include:

  • Kitchari: An Ayurvedic meal made with basmati rice and mung daal (yellow split peas), Kitchari is very soothing to the digestive system and considered a full protein meal.
  • Green smoothies: Loaded with greens and fruit, live enzymes, vitamins and minerals.
  • Vegetable juices: A staple of my diet for years, drinking one a day will ensure you're getting all the good stuff from vegetables while allowing your digestive tract to take a rest from breaking down fiber.
  • Hearty soups: Liquid meals are easy to digest, packed with herbs and veggies and very grounding and comforting.
  • Acai bowls: High antioxidant content, comforting and yummy.The idea is to keep your digestion smooth and things flowing to avoid the constipation often associated with anesthesia and pain medications.


The supplements I'm taking in the days and weeks after my surgery were suggested by my Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic practitioners and are designed to help the body reduce inflammation, prevent infection and purify the blood.


Herbs have amazing medicinal properties and can help your body feel whole and energized without side effects.

  • Ginger: Perfect to reduce inflammation in the belly, soothe your stomach and restore digestion.
  • Fennel, coriander, cumin: This is a traditional Ayurvedic blend that also heals digestion, allowing you to prevent gas, bloating and helps you absorb nutrients more efficiently.
  • Turmeric tea: Highly anti-inflammatory. From the first time I took it, I started to feel the inflammation in the wound area decrease.

Alternative Treatments

I follow some of the principles of Chinese medicine and Ayurveda in my own practice with clients and on myself. Surgery recover is no different. For my recovery, I'm using two specific treatments not very well known in the Western world but that people in Asia have been using effectively for centuries.

  • Shilajit: A resin common in parts of northern India and Asia known for its ability to accelerate and improve regeneration of tissue, making the healing process shorter and more effective. It's also known as an adaptogen, meant to help you cope with stress easier.
  • Moxi (or Moxibustion): An herbal remedy commonly used in Chinese medicine used to increase circulation to a healing wound or an area with inflammation. It reduces inflammation almost immediately and speeds the healing process.

Ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE web class with nutrition expert Kelly LeVeque.

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