Have you ever felt worse after a doctor treated you for an ailment, or maybe had the same problem arise again soon thereafter? Conventional medicine is expensive and often does not treat the disease, but treats the symptoms, leaving the underlying cause of your illness to continue damaging your health. Natural medicine treats the body as a whole, and concentrates on finding and treating the source of illness. Most natural medicines are inexpensive and available to the general public, so those without medical insurance can have access to treatment. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in some cases, natural medicine succeeds when conventional medicine fails.
Understanding Natural Medicine
There are many forms of natural medicine, including Ayurveda, Herbalism, Traditional Chinese Medicine and physical healing methods such as TaiChi and Yoga. Natural medicine, or naturopathy, relies on the belief that the body has the ability to heal itself when facilitated by removing obstacles, such as an unhealthy diet, and identifying natural treatments that enhance healing.
Treating the Whole Person
Naturopathic medicine’s main focus is to identify the specific dysfunctions and weaknesses in the body, then to devise an individualized treatment plan. There is no “one size fits all” in natural medicine, because no two people are exactly alike. For example, an illness may literally be “all in your head,” or psychosomatic. Where a conventional physician may prescribe drugs such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs, a naturopath may prescribe a mind-body treatment, such as yoga or meditation to help you deal with whatever it is that is causing your symptoms. At the same time, they may prescribe certain nutrients, herbs or tinctures to relax your body so it can heal. In natural medicine, if the mind is not healthy, the body cannot be healed, so the mind must be healed first.
Concentrating on Prevention
Naturopaths look at both objective and subjective information so as to identify potential susceptibilities. In other words, they consider not only the physical aspects of your self-care but the mental aspects as well. Naturopaths will ask you how you like your job, how you get along with your spouse, how many hours a week you work, or what your diet is like. They can identify stressors that can weaken your body, making is susceptible to disease or dysfunction. Natural medicine is concerned with prescribing lifestyle changes to remove obstacles to good health, such as too much work and too little personal time.
Using Diet as Therapy
In natural medicine, food is considered medicine. Too much or too little of one single nutrient can cause a host of problems. An example is scurvy, which is caused by a lack of vitamin C. Food’s role is to pass information to cells, maintain health, prevent disease and allow your body to function at maximum capacity. Macronutrients and micronutrients work together to ensure that the body has everything it needs to carry out every bodily function. Each system in the body needs certain nutrients to function normally. Have you ever had muscle cramps in your legs? These can be caused by a simple deficiency in potassium, calcium or magnesium. Headaches can be a signal of dehydration or a sodium imbalance in your body. By changing your diet, you can literally change your life by increasing your health and energy levels.
Treating the Mind
Natural medicine is concerned with the entire mind-body connection. If one is dysfunctional, the other cannot be fully functional. Again, food plays a great part in your mind-body health. Researchers are finding that certain foods, such as fatty fish, dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains and berries contain nutrients that enhance memory and congnitive ability. Herbs, such as St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Ashwaganda, Gingko biloba and Ginseng can help improve memory, focus and mood. A study conducted at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) found that certain amino acids can be helpful in treating traumatic brain injury (TBI).
How All This Relates to You
You can see that natural medicine is concerned with much more than your listing off symptoms and being prescribed a pill. It is an all-inclusive body-mind approach that can have remarkable results. You can heal yourself, have boundless energy and increase our brain power with the proper combination of food, herbs and exercise.