Natural Therapies, Natural Balance

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The Human Being

The human being is made up of many different things. We can identify the parts as limbs, as systems, or as organs. We can further break it down to various organ tissues, cells, cellular structures and chemicals. We are a mass of chemicals - this has already been identified.  But we are not just chemicals.

We can simplify the breakdown of the human being into 3 main parts– the body, mind and soul.

  • The body is that mass of chemicals making up structure, and to some degree function.
  • The mind is that part of us that is the mental and emotional aspect. What we feel and think.
  • The soul is that part of us, which is the little part of the Whole universal energy.

 

Any imbalances in any one of these 3 will lead to imbalances in others, and can lead ultimately lead to recognizable imbalance or complete failure of the being.

 

For instance (to refer to the Chinese medicine philosophy)

  • if we have too much anger it will affect the liver
  • if we have too much joy it will weaken the heart (and small intestine) with excess energy being directed there, leading to palpitations, tachycardias, arrhythmias
  • on the other hand, too much sadness also weakens the heart as not enough energy is directed there, leading to atrophy of the heart muscle, angina, etc.
  • if we have too much worry it will affect the spleen and stomach
  • if we have too much grief we weaken the lungs and large intestine
  • if we have too much fear it will destroy the kidneys and weaken the bladder

In this we can see that our mind and emotions can affect our body. If we treat the mind and emotions we can impact on the body (its systems and organs).

In another scenario we can have someone with a bad or damaged liver, not caused by emotions, but caused by drugs or toxins. The condition will now affect their mind causing the emotion of anger. If I treat their liver the anger can go away.

This is to show that we can treat on any level (within the body, mind and soul context) and effect another level or dimension, as they are all interrelated.

As a naturopath I try to incorporate all levels of healing.

Natural Therapies

Please note the term “Natural Therapies” which I prefer to the other descriptions of these forms of therapy such as “Alternative” and/or “Complementary”.  Alternative sounds like “some other radical choice that we can try”, and Complementary sounds like “things that can assist mainstream Orthodox medicine but that cannot stand alone as a recognized discipline or beneficial therapy”. Most Natural Therapies existed long before Modern Medicine. Some Natural Therapies are – Herbal Medicine, Nutritional supplement therapy, Homoeopathy, Aromatherapy, Massage, Reflexology, Shiatsu, Polarity therapy, Ear candling, Chelation Therapy, Osteopathy, Hydrotherapy, Acupuncture, Reiki, Sound Therapy and many others.  Below I will discuss in more detail one of these Natural therapies – Herbal Medicine.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine is the oldest form of medicine that exists and there is evidence that prehistoric man used herbs to attend to his ills.  Herbal Medicine exists traditionally by empirical knowledge. People used herbs and their knowledge of the effects of these herbs by observation and experience were passed down among family, tribe members, and practitioners. This knowledge was built up over time and through the ages to leave us today with a wealth of knowledge about the various uses of herbs. There are, written documented herbal medicinal texts that date as far back as 3,000 years ago. Now numerous books, both old and new, can be found on herbs and herbal medicine.

Herbal Medicines are the plant substances used, but Herbal Medicine is the practice of using Herbal Medicines to treat people.  Herbal Medicine is not just reading a book and finding out what herb is for this or that condition or disease. Herbal Medicine is scientific discipline whereby the practitioner can access imbalances within his patient and then use single herbs or combinations of herbs to address these imbalances. In chronic diseases it may take months or years to establish a cure. Acute conditions are usually treated successfully within a week or two.

Today, besides having all that traditional knowledge documented in many books for our convenience, we also have the scientific validation of Herbal Medicine due to modern science and research. The great thing is that we can confirm some of the traditional uses and investigate new herbs by chemically analyzing a particular herb and by looking at its constituents. Clinical trials can also substantiate traditional uses or claims to herbs.

Herbs work!

People still ask “Does this stuff really work?”.  Remember, most pharmaceutical drugs are derived from herbs and if it were not for the herbs in the first place many pharmaceutical drugs would not exist. Some people still think that herbs are all about cleaning out. Yes we use herbs to detoxify the body and bowels at times, but Herbal Medicine is much more than cleaning out.

There are tonic herbs that work to restore the integrity of sick or depleted organs or systems e.g. the cardiovascular system, there are stimulant and relaxing herbs to work again on each organ or system, there are herbs that are antibiotic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, hormonal balancers, etc..  Most herbs have a number of actions and can affect more than one system or organ at the same time.

Herbal Medicine is safe and effective when professionally prescribed and when quality products are used.