Mental Health-ish

Thriving Beyond Conventional Medicine

July 10, 2024 Host: Susie Navarro Season 3
Thriving Beyond Conventional Medicine
Mental Health-ish
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Mental Health-ish
Thriving Beyond Conventional Medicine
Jul 10, 2024 Season 3
Host: Susie Navarro

Experience a new era of health transformation with our special guest, a leading expert in mind-body functional transformative medicine. Lera Mikhailova is the founder & CEO of Whole Womanhood, a holistic practice integrating functional medicine + nervous system repair + feminine alchemy. Her goal is for women to dive into root cause revival & feminine energy together to feel truly aligned, alive, & resilient. She is a board certified OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner with a background in Neuroscience, Physiology, & Behavior. Her expertise includes hormones & fertility, cyclical living, gut health, drainage & detox, & nervous system dysregulation.  

Our guest highlights the shortcomings of conventional medicine, particularly in personalized follow-up care, and the importance of unique lab tests and lifestyle evaluations. As we address the toxic wellness culture and its adverse effects on women's health, we emphasize the significance of both physical and emotional nourishment. Learn how empowering women to listen to their bodies and regulate their nervous systems can lead to a sustainable and joyful life, ultimately allowing them to pursue their true passions and potential.

Guest: Lera Mikhailova
Hormone starter kit link: www.wholewomanhood.com/starterkit (What it's called: 10 Essential (& often missed) Foundations for Hormone & Gut Bliss)

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Support the Show.

For more mental health resources, blogs, and other podcast episodes, please visit:

IG: mentalhealth.ish
Website: www.mentalhealth-ish.com

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Experience a new era of health transformation with our special guest, a leading expert in mind-body functional transformative medicine. Lera Mikhailova is the founder & CEO of Whole Womanhood, a holistic practice integrating functional medicine + nervous system repair + feminine alchemy. Her goal is for women to dive into root cause revival & feminine energy together to feel truly aligned, alive, & resilient. She is a board certified OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner with a background in Neuroscience, Physiology, & Behavior. Her expertise includes hormones & fertility, cyclical living, gut health, drainage & detox, & nervous system dysregulation.  

Our guest highlights the shortcomings of conventional medicine, particularly in personalized follow-up care, and the importance of unique lab tests and lifestyle evaluations. As we address the toxic wellness culture and its adverse effects on women's health, we emphasize the significance of both physical and emotional nourishment. Learn how empowering women to listen to their bodies and regulate their nervous systems can lead to a sustainable and joyful life, ultimately allowing them to pursue their true passions and potential.

Guest: Lera Mikhailova
Hormone starter kit link: www.wholewomanhood.com/starterkit (What it's called: 10 Essential (& often missed) Foundations for Hormone & Gut Bliss)

Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast laun
Have you ever wanted to start your own podcast? Start for FREE Buzzsprout using this link. 

Support the Show.

For more mental health resources, blogs, and other podcast episodes, please visit:

IG: mentalhealth.ish
Website: www.mentalhealth-ish.com

Please like, subscribe, & write a 5 star! Don't forget to share this episode :)

Speaker 1:

Hi, thank you for being here and coming on as a podcast guest on my podcast and just sharing your expertise. I'm really excited.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, thank you.

Speaker 1:

Can you introduce yourself and just a little bit about yourself, your background, just, or what you do, just whatever you want to share about yourself?

Speaker 2:

no-transcript into now, kind of mind-body functional transformative medicine, and then I fuse it with nervous system repair and embodiment work. So it's all the things I think have been missing for us as women for a long time.

Speaker 1:

Nice, I love that. What kind of made you want to transition from what you were doing before to what you're doing now.

Speaker 2:

It's sort of a weird question. It's usually that you wind up seeing that you are using band-aids, that you really, really want to help women and that number one you wind up being just as sick as the rest of them. We're all hormonally imbalanced. We're trying to look for root causes. We can't seem to find them. We're doing everything that we can. We wind up really burned out, and so one of the reasons that I left is that I just got too sick.

Speaker 2:

I was really really unwell and I was taking care of women who were really really unwell and I was working alongside women who were really really unwell, and I realized that, as much as a lot of us have our hearts really in the right place, we're trying to diagnose women instead of really listen to them and get to the root cause of our issues Of really going down deeper and deeper into this rabbit hole of okay, but why are you struggling? Where is it coming from? How do we actually make that change for you, that changes everything, so that your body really feels like home and you really understand what's going on? I realized that even after I passed my boards, even after I was in practice, we were never really taught about our bodies, and so I think I left to really just dive deeper into this foundational understanding of what is it? What's our biology and what's beyond our biochemistry, what's beyond? But what do we actually deserve in the world of pleasure, in the world of rest, in the world of root cause cancers?

Speaker 1:

I love that because I'm a social worker, I worked in mental health, I work in a helping profession and I work for an agency, and so sometimes I could see how hard it could be. There's just so many rules or you have to do things this way and you want to give so much more, and sometimes it could feel like your hands are tied right, like you could feel like your hands are tied right, like you could feel very limited. So do you feel like you weren't able to help in the way that you wanted to right and what you were doing before?

Speaker 2:

precisely that. There's rules, there's regulations that oftentimes leave you asking, like such, but why, questions? Um, the the red tape is actually preventing us from saying I don't necessarily think that that medication is going to solve it. Right, the medication is a band-aid. What is it band-aiding? And so you wind up in this, you wind up in a numbers game, which I'm sure you know right.

Speaker 2:

You wind up in this constant situation of, like, did I see 15 patients? Did I see 20? Why did I spend extra time with patients? I might spend extra time with them because they're crying, and that's what you do with people. Because they're hurting, and that's what you do with people, particularly in the world of obstetrics, where you're dealing with infertility and miscarriages and you're dealing with, like, surprises of all kinds where gynecology, where is it a pap smear? Or is it also women who finally feel safe enough to share that she'd been sexually assaulted? Right, you're not just gonna say like, thank you so much, thank you, um. Our job is to really move with these women, um, and so I really wanted to create my own rules, so I did take a while and it nice.

Speaker 1:

So how has that been for you, that transition um to making your own rules and doing what you're doing now?

Speaker 2:

um, it's terrifying. At first you want to shit your pants. The short answer um, I thought I committed career suicide and in the beginning I just wasn't sure of what would happen. I realized that once, especially as women, because we have so many hormonal fluctuations and we have so many expectations of ourselves, when you start feeling that initial kind of seed of alignment, um, it changes everything. And I think that as women, we've been conditioned to feel so unaligned. Right, I have to go to my job and I get the Sunday scaries and my boss doesn't understand me, and I go to brunch so that I can drink alcohol, so I can forget about it, and I'm on my phone and everything's not aligned. And as you start making these minor changes and really getting to this level of, oh, I think this is actually my vision, I think this is what I'm aligned with and it starts working in your favor. So I thought my practice would be a hobby, so to speak, made out of necessity. And my practice, within the first couple of months, hit a seven month wait list. Couple of months, it hit a seven-month wait list, and so it just kept growing and growing. It's been exclusively word of mouth for years, so it's just like people are their own best calling card.

Speaker 2:

So what got into the company is that someone would run into someone else and be like why do you look so good? Why are you so calm? Why does life seem to be treating you well? Like, why are you so calm? Why is life seem to be treating you well? And so that's kind of how it started. And then I started to grow it. I started to see a lot of target clients and really dive into this idea. If someone's trying to treat just your body, you're shit out of luck. Right, like what do you feel safe? Does your nervous system feel safe? Are you in the right environment? Right, you can only take yourself as far as your environment deems it safe, because your nervous system deems it safe. And so, um, the experience has been incredible.

Speaker 2:

Just because I didn't expect it to skyrocket the way that it did, I chose to have no disability presence because I just wanted to focus on trying to figure out how so many women found me, um and all through word of mouth, and you just kind of go down this rabbit hole, um, and now it's grown. Now I'm seeing the same patterns missed over and over again in women. We were never taught sex ed properly, we were never taught about our hormones properly, and so I really started seeing these patterns constantly, of all of these missed foundations. So I got to the point where now I'm building out a course that's really an immersive experience for women that's supported right.

Speaker 2:

We're all isolated, we're disconnected from our bodies, we're disconnected from our communities, and so the goal is to really come at it from a completely different way at this point. How do we connect with each other? How do we connect them to sense of self, and how do we do it in a body that they understand? Um, and so it's been wonderful, um, it's been absolutely wonderful to build this out, because the challenges are hard, but when you're in alignment right, it's the right kind of hard great.

Speaker 1:

so can you go a little bit into, like, um, what your types of services would look like versus, like you know, the traditional approach, right of going to see your doctor at a doctor's office? Can you talk a little bit about the differences with the two?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think a shorter conversation would be to talk about the similarities. So, yes, so, when someone comes in with me, first and foremost I need them to make sure that we're actually in good match. I think it really matters that someone just has an absolute hell. Yes, this is my energy. This feels really good. I think a lot of what health practices work is accountability, which is generally what's missing in most of medicine. A lot of us who are in medicine actually speak out against that. Right, you want to see people more often, you want to have follow-up, but again, these are impacted. They're low staff, there's a lot of other variables, and so generally what happens is that women come in with me and our first visit is about two hours long. So right away it's very, very different. We are going into the nooks and crannies. My job is not just to listen to it, it's to really hear you. What happened? How can you follow these things back? How can you actually look at things and kind of pinpoint uh-huh, that's where something seems like it changed versus like.

Speaker 2:

I've had women who come to me or have myself in medicine, but people are like what's the thing that brings you here? And women are like oh, it's like these couple of things I don't like, well, which one do we focus on? But, yes, and my gut hurts and I have a lot of cramps and I have headaches and I'm like, well, which one bothers you the most? And so it's really understanding how all of these things are connected. It's this idea of systems biology. You don't have organs that are just doing all their own thing. They're all speaking, and so it's to really get that story and then, initially, right away, it's to dive into what foundations can we do on a human level, right? What labs can we run? The labs that I run are very different than what I used to run. We're going into figuring out do you have actual gut stuff going on? We can see? In there, we can see things like do you have an overgrowth? Are you digesting your food? Are you coping out hormones as you should be, which most women don't realize you should be doing? Are you coping out hormones as you should be, which most women don't realize you should be doing, right? So there's this idea of actually having a snapshot into things. Do you have toxicity? Are your hormones doing the thing that they should be? These are tests that I never even knew how to run in conventional medicine. At the same time, we're looking into your diet. We're looking into actually, like, how do you eat?

Speaker 2:

And what I find is huge red flag across the board now is, in the world of conventional medicine, we were never trained. A lot of people left it and then spiraled into wellness and now we have this toxic wellness culture where everyone's like this is my four-hour morning routine and this is what I eat in a day, right On TikTok or on Instagram and I'm like first off, stop it, because half of those people are my clients and they're influencing people. Literally. They're influencers influencing people wrong, and it's oftentimes now leading to women being completely obsessed and restricted and fixated and thinking that they have to do things a certain way and they've eliminated everything. And we've created so much fear and so much stress that a lot of what we're doing is essentially sitting with a woman first going into hey, this is what your body's literally trying to tell you. This is what it looks like to be fed abundance. This is what it looks like to relearn how to eat right.

Speaker 2:

I was never taught how to eat. I think I first didn't know at all, so I ate Cocoa Puffs literally for a period of years for dinner. Then we get healthy because a lot of us get really sick or desperate. That creates fixations, that it's more disordered eating patterns. Oftentimes that inadvertently leads to big, big issues with malnutrition or under eating, even if it's inadvertent, and so it's really systematic to say what's your body trying to tell us?

Speaker 2:

How do we teach you how to deeply nourish yourself, not how to eat right, but how to nourish yourself? What does that look like on a personalized level? How can it bring joy Right? A lot of my practice. There's a lot of laughter Like there's a lot of us coming in being like this doesn't have to suck, we're regulating your nervous system, right. That ability to actually rest, women, we don't. Not only do we not know how to rest anymore, we've been conditioned to think that the opposite is what makes us worthy. You're productive. It is what makes us worthy. You're productive, it's what makes you worthy, right. So that's kind of what we're in for.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, a lot of the times, because it's easy to get stuck on something like you said, like a diet or like you know what does that even mean? But a lot of the times it's not a sustainable plan, like we think for a month or two months and then it's like okay, I don't want to do this anymore, exactly, exactly.

Speaker 2:

And the whole point is the thing that I think is missed across the board. Is this idea of sensuality and embodiment right, it's the okay. Now you're eating more abundantly, now you understand your body, so what the hell is it that you want?

Speaker 2:

from this beautiful life, right. Like, what is it that you crave? What is your vision? What if you're meant to do amazing things? What if it can actually be really really good? What if you don't have to work a nine to five? What if you have some like beautiful secret thing you're meant to bring to the world? You can't do that if you're burnt out, if you're tired, if you're malnourished, if you're hurting. That if you're burnt out, if you're tired, if you're malnourished, if you're hurting, right. And so it kind of goes through this idea of what are your labs? At the same time, your labs are small but beautiful.

Speaker 2:

Part of this, what's the nourishment that actually sustains you long-term? How do you actually repair your nervous systems that your body feels safe again long-term? How do you actually reconnect with pleasure again long-term? We're not just women where, once you like, figure it out and teach us how to eat, we all just shut up and do what we're supposed to do, right, it's quite the opposite. Like what do you crave?

Speaker 2:

So now I have women where we don't right, our teen pregnancy rate has gone down, which at first we were like woo, and then we're like, oh, my God, it's because people literally aren't having sex anymore. It's that people are so disconnected that it's all phones, it's all social media that people are literally afraid to interact. So there's this initial like oh, this is great and also wait, is it actually happening for the right reasons? And so it's really getting women back in touch with their feminine, that deep, deep feminine energy, that beautiful slowness we're supposed to. We deserve the whole beautiful thing, right, I say that over and over again, but I mean it that pleasure is also our birthright and I think getting women from this point A to point, like exclamation mark, way through the alphabet, into this whole other world, creates this deep resiliency and this deep vitality that's really, really hard to mess with. So it breeds confidence and it breeds, like this actual ability to live a turned on life and I think it's neatly what we deserve. So it's very, very different than the original model.

Speaker 1:

Right, yeah, and I love that because it's, I mean, everyone's different, right, everyone's bodies are different, like everyone's a different thing, so it's not like there's no one size fits all, which it could sometimes feel like, you know, when you do go to like a traditional doctor, but I'm all I mean, I understand too, like we've been talking about, like there's certain limitations, right, when you go see there's a pine in a place.

Speaker 2:

Precisely that's what I try to make very clear to people is I am one of them and they are also great, right, so you can be in both worlds, and you're supposed to be in both. You're supposed to be in all the worlds that you choose, right, that can benefit you in a way that really creates the sense of wholeness, right, and so there's a time and a place you can go to conventional medicine. There's really really powerful, um situations where that's needed acute care. You are bleeding, you are hurting, you have, like, sudden infections, you have crazy things that need to be removed. Please go there, um. And it's really about bridging science with magic, right, really bridging science with magic, right. Really bridging that beautiful part of ourselves that's completely untapped. As women, we're literally taught to be like men, right To be on a man's cycle, and we're not. We're physiologically completely different, and so once you tap into it, you realize it really is something you can harness versus something that you have to constantly fight against.

Speaker 1:

And let me tell you why I was interested in this topic. So I started we hear it like health journey, right, going on this health journey. So I started doing that because I'm like, okay, like I want to exercise, you know, whatever, like all that stuff that we do or we want to do getting like what I thought was stomach pain, like at the start of the year. I'm like, okay, I'm getting this really bad stomach pain. I went to the doctor like several times and the doctor was like, oh well, maybe it's something you ate that's making your stomach. I'm like, oh, okay, that makes sense. But then it just never like got better. And I went back to the doctor again and then they were like, well, maybe it was like a stomach flu. And so I was like never getting an answer.

Speaker 1:

And I actually posted like a TikTok video on my TikTok and it went viral because apparently a lot of people have the same experience, you know, with their doctors and it literally like it's still getting shared up to this day, like that video. So I was just sitting like at the doctor's office, like you know, trying to get answers for this pain, and like all that they would suggest is like OK, maybe it's something you ate. You need to go on a diet like that's going to solve right. And I was like that's so sad that so many people could relate and like there has to be like a better way. And so, yeah, right, there is now.

Speaker 2:

So I think what's you know as I speak and as I can dive into this deeper, people are like you know you need to demand answers and I'm like, but they don't have answers, right? A lot of those people are also my clients. So I work deeply in the world of fertility and deeply in the world of hormones as well, and I've reminded people that, like, the person who's doing your IVF is actually my client, the person who you see as a clinician is my client, right? So there's this idea of everyone wanting answers. If someone has stomach pain, for example, like you, the easiest thing to do is literally look into physically what might be going on. So initially, yeah, maybe it's imaging, maybe that's exactly that beautiful bridge of worlds. Someone should physically take a look. Before that, someone should also believe you, right? That's the first thing. Is that half the time, women feel like it takes us how many years to get actually diagnosed with our autoimmune conditions? How many women where I just asked them how are you? And they burst into tears because they're saying that you're one of the first people that's actually made eye contact with me when they asked me that, and it seems like you're actually curious, and I am damn curious, because you're not supposed to be suffering, right. We're not supposed to be suffering. We are so damn beautiful, right, and everything we've gotten shit on over and over again. And so, first, it's believe you. Second of all, it's actually that's usually when conventional medicine shines. It's like rule out what's going to kill you. That's what I was literally taught Rule out the things that might kill them. That would be nice, right. Make sure that you don't have some sort of crazy infection. There's just been a crazy thing going on, and then you actually have to use critical thinking.

Speaker 2:

So, right away, it's not about going on a diet. What in the world does that even mean? Should you go vegan? Should you go carnivore? Should you be plant-based? Is that the same thing as vegetarian? All we've done is confuse the crap out of people, right, and so it really comes down to the fact that there's these foundations that are constantly missed in our quote-unquote diet. It's not about our diet, it's about nourishment.

Speaker 2:

Women all fundamentally need similar foundations, and then, as you know your body, you get to personalize what you need on top of that, right. It's why some women need gluten-free. Other women need to eliminate certain foods for a certain period of time, right. But initially, what never came across for you is no one looked at you and was like let's get to the root of this, right? Like what's the root of the root of the root? Okay.

Speaker 2:

Do you have parasites and infections at the same time that you have food sensitivities, that you also have toxins? You're supposed to poop out toxins. You're supposed to poop out hormones, right? So one of the easiest things to do is just take a look in and once all the crazy things that are going to kill you are ruled out, you go into actual holistic testing. It's just very complicated. You take a cup and you poop into it. That's it, right. And then you poop into it. That's it. And then you set it off. That's it.

Speaker 2:

Someone else does the work for you, and someone who should be highly trained and qualified reads it like a story, and if you're with a good clinician or a good coach, then what a lot of us are is really good storytellers. We finally tell the story of you back to you in a way where the chapters make sense, not like quick, you should eat more broccoli or you need to suddenly remove this. I'm Eastern European. We're gals, we love to live. Generally, some people are like, okay, then just, but why, why, what are we trying to accomplish? And so that's easily what would have been done for you is like let's actually listen to you, let's do something like a puke that rules it out, and then let's take that deep dive.

Speaker 2:

I have never seen one single stool test come back normal In conventional medicine. When I did that version of stool testing, almost all of them come back normal. It's a completely different test. And so people are like, yeah, yeah, yeah, they checked my gut, it was normal. And I'm like I don't think so. Did they actually do the DNA stool analysis? And they're like I don't know number one, or definitely they did not, knowing which resources you have available, because the paradigm is shifting right now. We've all been so disappointed in medicine, including those of us who are in medicine. A lot of us are just trying to look for more answers, and I think that's what I'm trying to raise awareness of is that there is this beautiful new paradigm starting, where we're actually teaching women not only how to crave more, but to be more and ask for more and be worthy of more right, and it starts on this biological level. Why in the hell did your stomach pains.

Speaker 1:

I'm so desperate so just you know, in case anyone was wondering like it actually ended up being like gallstones, so that was my pain.

Speaker 2:

So I just wanted to go ahead and comment on that. Before you get gallstones, there's so many other signs and that's why so many women get their gallbladder removed now. And that's why I ask women all the time please know the status of your liver, of your gallbladder. Why? Because your gallbladder and your liver work together to produce a magical little juice called bile. That's actually what breaks down fats, but fats are the building blocks of your hormones. So that's why so many women with gallstone to gallbladder or liver or whatever issue. That's where so many hormone issues come from.

Speaker 1:

So that's how connected all of this is yeah, so that's what I'm finding out now, like just I mean, I mean, at least it's nice to just know what it was now, rather than you know, I just didn't know for a while, but yeah, um, okay, so where could people find like more information, like if they were interested in learning more about you know, your services, or just in general, like more information about this?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so they can find me at wholewomanhoodcom. So I'm the founder, I have a wonderful team and it is growing, and so my practice right now is it is waitlisted. It's a long waitlist and that's why I'm releasing a program called Hormone Alchemy and that's what I was talking about. It's these foundations that every woman deserves to know. So we go through everything, starting with your cycle. What you were never taught how to actually revive your nervous system, how to go through what are the basics of your hormones, what are the basics of your gut. I still have yet to meet a single woman who actually works with the foundations, and the women that I work with are amazing and they're smart. They're just doing other things, and if you're really good at what you're doing, you should probably be really good at who you're being. This entire body should probably be taken care of. So that's launching.

Speaker 2:

People can find me on Instagram at whole womanhood, and I would love, love, love if anyone who's listening downloads my hormone and gut revival starter kit. It's where I go through these basics. It's kind of the quick and dirty, quick start guide, for what do you actually do right away that prevents gallstones? I'm happy that you got the diagnosis. Those are also painful, right. It would have been real nice to avoid them to begin with, and there's a lot of things that we can do to make that happen. And so it really is about creating these foundations in a body that you love and understand, and that's where it starts. So I would love to be a resource for women. I send out a newsletter that people literally just respond to in person all the time. That's meant to be these little quick and juicy pearls. This is what your recovering gynecologist wishes. You knew about your body, so I would love to stay connected with women like that.

Speaker 1:

Sounds great. I'm going to go sign up myself after recording this series. It's really good stuff and I'm going to include that link for anyone interested in the description for the episode. So make sure to check it out. And yeah, just once again, thank you for being on and talking about this absolutely I.

Speaker 2:

I think that we we just deserve it right. We deserve it so much that, like, if we had answers and I say that all the time what would you do with your life if you felt so damn good you couldn't help yourself, right? What would we actually do? And it's really beautiful to see what women come up with. The whole process is definitely it's a transformation. So thank you for having me here. I can't wait to talk with you further. Thank you.

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