We all know and value the importance of community. Communities give us an identity, a network, they teach us about who we are and give meaning to our lives. Our communities provide us with support, empathy, and allow us to give back to others in the same way. Research studies have shown that communities and peer support are essential to healing life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and are generally linked to happiness, health and longevity.

But what if we needed communities for more than support? What if communities are a key source of knowledge to be help identify a problem that we didn’t know we had and identify resources that we didn’t know existed?

That was the case for me, three decades into an illness with a bizarre and seemingly unrelated set of symptoms that doctors struggled to diagnose. When I realised I had a histamine intolerance and mast cell activation disorder (MCAD), it was through the MCAD community that I learned how to identify food intolerance and appropriate supplements, and search for functional medical doctors and nutritionists.

In no way are online communities a replacement for your GP, hospitals and other medical resources. But the fact is, diet and lifestyle play a factor into our mental and physical well-being and these are elements that cannot be addressed through a prescription. The food you put into your body either helps you or hurts you. Other lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise and elevated stress levels make your body vulnerable to attack. All these elements are your responsibility and directly determine the quality of your health. The Communality focuses on using natural elements to heal your body. For some conditions, this may not be enough, and you may need to take prescription drugs as well as change your diet and lifestyle. For the other dietary and natural treatments, the elements that are under your control, we are here to help.

How can we address diet and lifestyle issues if we don’t know what we’re doing wrong? The answers can be found in your community. Everyone is different so what works for one person may not work for you. Luckily, it’s never been easier to get multiple data points which will help you to find what’s right for you through trial and error. With a larger set of data points and responses to your questions, you’ll be able to identify what works for you much faster. Importantly, you may also learn about supplements, herbs, and other natural treatments that you never knew existed. Use the online communities to discuss your symptoms and guide you towards resources, books and functional medical doctors who can holistically address your issue by alleviating the symptoms AND dealing with the root cause. If you don’t identify what caused your illness, you will simply be putting a band aid on your problem.

The final element that the Communality wishes to provide is this strong social support. Most people will focus on diet and exercise only, but mental health is equally important. Studies have shown that your social network can either be good or bad medicine. You are more likely to develop obesity if your friends (more so than family members) have it. Conversely, if you’re part of a community of individuals who are focused on healing themselves both physically and mentally, you are much more likely to follow the same path.

We hope you’ll join our community of people who are empowered to take control of their health through diet and lifestyle choices. Do it for yourself first so you can improve your physical and mental well-being and do it for others so they can gain real value from the experiences that you’ve already suffered. When we focus on teaching others what we know, our disease can serve a purpose in our lives.