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Natural Medicine

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A staggering one hundred thousand people a year die of reactions to prescription drugs. That number does not include illegal or recreational drugs, and solely refers to pharmaceutical drugs that were legally and correctly prescribed, and taken as directed. Over the past 35 years, patients have suffered from a largely hidden epidemic of side effects from drugs that usually have few offsetting benefits. The pharmaceutical industry has corrupted the practice of medicine through its influence over what drugs are developed, how they are tested, and how medical knowledge is created.

Anyone who has ever suffered with pain knows how debilitating it can be, particularly when it’s chronic. Yet the conventional solution—strong, pharmaceutical medicines—are turning out to be worse than the problem. They certainly get rid of pain— but at what cost?

The rate of overdose deaths that involved opioids nearly quadrupled, with over thousands of people dying just from prescription opioid overdoses.

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Natural medicine can also be referred to as naturopathy; it is a form of alternative medicine which involves homeopathy, herbalism, acupuncture, diet and lifestyle counselling, and more. It is thought that naturopathy originates back to 400BC and its founding principles were discovered by the Greek philosopher Hippocrates.

People who practise natural medicine are known as naturopathic doctors, many of these practitioners will have obtained professional qualifications and have passed an examination to receive a license. In addition to this, these healthcare practitioners must continue updating their knowledge annually to keep up to date with medical advancements.

An herb is a plant or plant part used for its scent, flavor, or therapeutic properties. Herbal medicines are one type of dietary supplement. They are sold as tablets, capsules, powders, teas, extracts, and fresh or dried plants. People use herbal medicines to try to maintain or improve their health.

Many people believe that products labelled “natural” are always safe and good for them. This is not necessarily true. Herbal medicines do not have to go through the testing that drugs do. Some herbs, such as comfrey and ephedra, can cause serious harm. Some herbs can interact with prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

If you are thinking about using an herbal medicine, first get information on it from reliable sources. Make sure to tell your health care provider about any herbal medicines you are taking.

Philosophy behind natural medicine.

The ideology behind natural medicine revolves around vitalism and self-healing, meaning naturopaths will tend to advise their patients to avoid modern medicines, pharmacological drugs, vaccinations and medical operations.

Natural medicine systems aim to incorporate gentle therapeutic techniques involving the body, mind and emotions to aid the healing process. They also focus on each patient as an individual and treating the whole person, instead of concentrating on a particular area or the patient’s ailment. It is believed that muscles, bones and nerves are interconnected, therefore when structures of the body system are aligned; the body is able to function optimally and support self-healing.

Natural medicine practitioners will make a conscious effort to avoid using methods which suppress symptoms, as the aim is for the body to restore its inner balance and heal itself. Practitioners also have a role to teach; by educating and empowering their patients, patients can take more responsibility for their well-being and adopt a healthier lifestyle and attitude. Another important principle of naturopathic medicine is prevention of ill health; this can be done through both teaching and patient counseling.

Depending on the patient’s condition and symptoms, treatment methods can vary and may involve one or multiple methods such as :

  • Lifestyle advice to promote health and eliminate stress
  • Dietary advice to promote detoxification, restore balance and treat minor conditions
  • Herbal medication to treat and prevent symptoms and ailments
  • Massage therapy to relieve tension and promote well-being
  • Hydrotherapy as it is believed water can play a role in stimulating the body’s immune system
  • Meditation as a form of stress relief and management

Practitioners will take into account each individual patient and tailor a treatment plan for them; this is also reliant on the type of practitioner who is dealing with the patient and their previous training. Therefore patients will be asked numerous questions regarding their lifestyle, sleep patterns, diet and more to understand the patient as well as their condition in initial consultations.

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Naturopathic treatments are suitable for everyone, all ages and every level of health. Most commonly, patients who are suffering from fatigue, stress and its related disorders, gastrointestinal diseases or similar minor ailments will seek treatment from natural medicine practitioners.

Most treatments can certainly cause no harm however there are a number of benefits with natural medicine which may be why many patients are drawn to it.

Emphasis on patients as a whole, as previously discussed, the principles and ideologies of naturopathy focus on the entire body for healing; emotional, mental and physical health are all taken into consideration.

Patients are offered personal attention, unlike when visiting a doctors clinic where patients will only discuss their symptoms, naturopathic practitioners will consult their patient on multiple aspects of their health due to tailor a custom treatment plan.

A focus on prevention, natural medicine encourages patients to visit practitioners before a medical condition develops so that they can take control of their health and revitalise themselves.

Almost no side effects, natural medicine tends to discourage the use of pharmacological drugs and allopathic medicines. A majority of therapies will be centred on stress relief, relaxation, and using natural supplements in healthy doses, therefore patients are unlikely to suffer adverse or undesired reactions.

Yet there have been some randomised controlled trials which have suggested that acupuncture, physiotherapy and nutritional therapies have been successful in treating type II diabetes, asthma, hypertension and migraine headaches.

However, despite all these benefits, there is still not sufficient scientific evidence to back and support natural medicine as an effective method of treatment of diseases. Recently funding for research studies in natural and alternative medicines has increased mainly due to an increased demand by consumers, yet many questions are currently unanswered.

Supporters of allopathic medicine argue that it is harmful and irresponsible to use non-evidence backed treatments for conditions which are or can become serious or even terminal, when there are evidence backed allopathic medical treatments available.

The main difference between the naturopathic doctor’s (ND) approach and that of conventionally trained doctors is that NDs are taught to use methods that build on the extraordinary ability of the body to heal itself. Today’s naturopathic doctor doesn’t turn to pharmaceutical drugs to suppress symptoms, but rather looks for ways to support the body’s natural healing by using astute clinical acumen and modalities such as nutritional modifications, lifestyle interventions, clinically studied botanical medicine, dose appropriate medical nutritional support, acupuncture and other non-toxic therapies. 

Principles of natural medicines –

The healing power of nature : Trust in body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself.

Identify and treat the causes : Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause.

First do no harm : Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.

Doctor as teacher : Educate patients in the steps to achieving and maintaining health.

Treat the whole person : View the body as integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions.

Prevention : Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.

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Omega-3s

“Fish oil is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties”. A study comparing ibuprofen and the omega-3s found in fish oil (EPA and DHA) “demonstrated equivalent effect in reducing arthritic pain”. Fish oil supplements “may be a safer alternative to NSAIDs” for some patients.

Curcumin

Curcumin is a wonderful example of a natural medicine. Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric, the bright orange spice used in Indian food and curries. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory and has been studied for its beneficial effects on the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis and as an anti-inflammatory agent in neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases.

Capsaicin

Capsaicin comes from hot chili peppers, and has a long history of use in the practice of natural medicine. It decreases substance P—a compound involved in the transmission of pain signals —and has been shown to be effective in diabetic neuropathy, postsurgical pain, and Guillain-Barre’ syndrome. Patients  with headache can significantly decrease the intensity of both migraine and cluster headaches after using capsaicin cream inside their nostrils.

Spices, botanicals, and herbs

Many other spices, botanicals and herbs have a long history of medicinal use. Ginger contains potent phytochemicals which help flight inflammation. Feverfew, a medicinal herb, has been used as a headache remedy for centuries, as has butterbur. Some over-the-counter products meant to ease pain are mixes of herbs and botanicals like turmeric, ginger and holy basil. Your naturopathic physician will be able to customize combinations of natural substances in the correct doses for your individual situation.

Heat and ice

Heat and ice have long been used as traditional remedies for pain. Personal trainers are taught the acronym RICE for dealing with typical athletic injuries: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Heat and cold are the two most common types of nonaddictive, noninvasive, non-toxic pain-relieving therapies both for joint pain and for muscle pain. Ice decreases blood flow to the injury (lowering swelling and inflammation) while heat opens up blood vessels, supplying oxygen and nutrients to the area and relaxing sore muscles.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture originated 3000 years ago in China, and has a long history of being used for pain. Physicians recommends that acupuncture be considered as one of several nondrug approaches physicians should consider with patients who have chronic low-back pain.

Resveratrol

Reseveratrol is a good example of a natural medicine that can be used in conjunction with conventional pain treatments, making those medicines even more effective (and, hopefully, reducing the amount of those medicines needed to be prescribed.) Resveratrol has been investigated for decades for its multiple beneficial effects on everything from aging to inflammation to insulin sensitivity. But in the last few years, it’s been recently noted that resveratrol preserves the pain-relieving effects of morphine, making a dose of that powerful (but potentially dangerous) medication last a lot longer so you need less of it. Resveratrol also seems to have the ability to lower substance P—a compound in the body that transmits pain impulses. Animal studies show that resveratrol lowers neuropathic pain by balancing the release of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Ginger has the deserved reputation as being a wonderful calming substance for the stomach. Research has been done on ginger as a cancer preventative. Inflammation is involved in diabetes, cancer, obesity, heart disease and every degenerative disease. Anything we can do to lower inflammation is extremely important for our health. Oxidation: the damage done by free radicals that are found in oxygen. It’s kind of a rusting. Oxidative stress is a major part of aging and just about every degenerative disease you can imagine. Antioxidants help fight the damage done by these marauding free radicals.

A study found oregano to have the highest ranking antioxidants of any herb. It appears to contain some diabetes fighting compounds as well. Prefer the oil of oregano, not really the spice itself. Oregano oil is anti-microbial. Ideally it should be taken by mouth for parasites, allergies, a cold, the flu and fatigue.

Garlic is probably the number one medicinal food in the world. It goes back thousands of years. It’s been found to be helpful for the heart, for the immune system, helps kill parasites, it’s a natural antibiotic and it’s great for blood pressure. Researchers have found that it actually reduces plaque.

Aged garlic extract was shown to inhibit the progression of atherosclerosis to lower blood pressure, improve oxidative stress and enhance circulation. Garlic has to be chopped up and broken down in order for two compounds to mix together and create allicin. There are studies showing the anti-cancer mechanism of sulfur-containing compounds of which garlic and onions are two prime examples.

Cinnamon. A study showed that cinnamon actually improves blood sugar, glucose and lipids of people with type two diabetes. There’s just no downside to using it and there’s potentially lots of upsides. There’s a meta-analysis of all the studies of cinnamon use in type two diabetes, and on the whole, they’re very positive. Here again the effect of cinnamon tea on postprandial, just means after eating, postprandial glucose simply means your blood sugar after you eat and cinnamon has a nice muting effect on that. Here again, more experimental evidence, more reviews and here once again, big surprise, turns out that cinnamon may also have some anti-cancer properties which is a very nice little side benefit so if you’re taking it for blood sugar oh look at this, it may also have some effects on cancer cells, not a bad side effect.

Sage is an anti-oxidant and a powerful anti-inflammatory. It seems to have a great effect on memory in both younger people and in older. Sage actually improves glycemic control and lipid profile in type 2 diabetics and it lowers fasting glucose; it brought down blood sugar.

 Summing Up

This is a far from complete list, but it should give you an idea of the range of available pain treatments that do not require toxic and dangerous drugs with their significant potential for addiction.

Naturopathic physicians, by the very nature of their training, are deeply familiar with all of them, and will develop an individualized, multi-modal, non-toxic treatment plan before reaching for the “hard stuff”. 

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A treatment that involves the transfer of energy through the healer to the recipient. It promotes self-healing by relaxing the body, releasing tensions and strengthening the body’s own immune system. Healing is natural and non-invasive with the intention of bringing the recipient into a state of balance and wellbeing on all levels.

Spiritual healing is a technique in which subtle energy forces are used to address problems which have been causing sustained disruptions in leading a normal life. These problems could be various, ranging from an injury, a general feeling of distress, a chronic illness which has been the cause of relentless pain and discomfort or even intense psychological trauma. Healing with the help of positive energies has been a proven form of treatment which has been recognised for over a thousand years in the east. However, western medical sciences have just woken up to this amazing concept of spiritual healing, and have brought it to good use.

Spiritual Healing is about working with illness, dis-ease, and dis-harmony from multiple angles.

When using spiritual healing to address illness, we focus on bringing harmony back to reinforce a person’s whole body-heart-mind health.

Healing Vs Curing : In modern society, we expect quick fixes. Western medicine focuses on curing people through surgery, pharmaceuticals and other medical interventions. If you have a bacterial infection, western medicine provides the cure, antibacterial medicine.

Many treatments exist in western medicine. Treatments focus on curing symptoms. For example, medications are used to treat symptoms of depression and pain. Treatments can be beneficial in acute situations. However, long-term reliance on only treatment can inhibit healing, create a dependence on the treatment and even create additional illness and disease. For example, antibacterial medications often create an imbalance in the gut.

Healing goes beyond medical treatment. It includes spiritual growth, intellectual expansion, physical cures and other interventions. Healing requires digging deeper into why you got a bacterial infection in the first place and why you have depression and pain.

Healing is usually a mixture of interventions – physical medical and non-medical, energetic interventions and mental interventions. When we transform the cause of illness/disease and grow beyond the problem, we are then focused on healing.  Healing is a whole package deal. Addressing only one element of an illness rarely leads to healing.

In spiritual healing, we create a medicine story for ourselves that includes both a curing process and a healing destination.  We create a spiritual prescription for the body, heart, and mind and then embark upon a healing journey.

Spiritual healing methods :

Most often, the concept of spiritual healing is confused with that of counseling. However, counseling is not a form of spiritual therapy. There are specific spiritual healing methods which are used to facilitate this innovative form of treatment.

  • The most common spiritual healing method is through prayers.
  • Spiritual energy is also transmitted with the help of visualisation techniques, which encourages the healer to understand the problem, care for it, heal and finally protect the affected individual.
  • Spiritual energy can be directed through advanced techniques such as reiki, prana and qi.
  • There could also be devices like radionics and stones that are known to emanate positive energy. These can be used for facilitating spiritual therapy.
  • Spiritual therapy can also be mobilised with the help of advanced concentration techniques which help in receiving positive energies faster. Intense meditation can help a lot in improving the efficiency of spiritual healing processes.
  • Spiritual healing can also be facilitated with the help of personal spiritual realisation.
  • Spiritual helpers and guides can also channel their energies to affected people for sustained relief from spiritual therapy.
  • Psychic abilities can also be used to propagate spiritual healing processes.
  • Universal compassion techniques can also be effectively used in mobilising spiritual therapy.

Spiritual Healing journey –

Purifies relationships.

Uses the mind through creative freedom.

Free the soul from the ego. 

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Spiritual healing is a technique where subtle energies are used for healing. These types of energies have been recognized by the western medicine only in the recent past. Many eastern medical systems have recognized and have been using these types of forces or energies for hundreds and thousands of years. Other names which are also used for these energies are Chi and Prana. These energies are related to and are directed by a person’s consciousness. Due to this, a person can accept healing forces directly in the presence of the healer or at a distance from the healer.

In today’s society, spirituality has taken a backseat to the many other priorities thrown at us. In a spiritually malnourished society, we’ve lost our connection to that which makes us human. We find ourselves chasing down other’s dreams or constructs of what they believe our lives should be. In the end we find an empty void that we’ve so desperately tried to fill with meaningless things. If you’re reading this article, then congratulations, you’ve already put yourself on the right path. Here you will find that you never needed to fill any void in your life, because when you are connected to your true spirit, you’ll see there is no such thing as a deficit.

Follow these steps to heal spiritually which are very basic in nature but very effective –

  • Prayer.
  • Visualization.
  • Higher levels of concentration.
  • Devices that convey healing forces such as radionics.
  • Channeling of spiritual leaders and helpers.
  • Personal spiritual awareness.
  • Channeling of spiritual energy e.g. chi, prana, reiki.
  • Psychic powers.
  • Bodhicitta (total enlightenment or compassion).

Love Yourself : This is always the first step to connecting with your spirit. If you’ve been bashing yourself for living the “wrong” life or mulling over the past, now is the right moment to stop that. Know that when you say negative messages to yourself, you are diminishing your own spirit, taking you further away from where you want to be. A great exercise to try is to observe your thoughts for one day, without labelling them either good or bad, and instead just watching them. This will help you love yourself more and bring healing to your spirit.

Observe your mind : This step is a continuation of the exercise from the above step. When you can eliminate judgement from your mental space, you’ll see the thoughts you have with more clarity. For many people out there, we’ve been told what spirituality is in religious terms, meaning that you must follow a certain set of rules. Its possible when you no longer judge your thoughts as right or wrong, that you’ll shed unnecessary concepts or beliefs no longer helping you. At this stage, some people see beyond emotional reactions and gain understanding the triggers that cause emotive reactions.

Be patient : Healing doesn’t happen in a day, especially for spiritual healing. You may work on your spirit for a decade and find one day that you’ve fallen into an old belief that you’d thought to be long gone. There’s no benefit in further beating yourself up, just be patient, this is life, so allow it to happen. If you’re working to stand up for yourself with healthy boundaries and find that you fumble, don’t worry, the lesson will reappear again for you to retry. Patience will be one of your greatest allies when healing, because we often have to repeat lessons a few times before getting them right.

Understand what spirituality is for you : As mentioned earlier, the majority of us grew up under the notion that spirituality happens in a temple under a strict code of rules and regulations. If this environment makes you feel uncomfortable, then this is likely a place that will stifle your spirit. Various metaphysical healers and philosophers have often pointed to spirituality being an awakening process. What this means is that we already know what areas light up our spirits, it’s just a matter of awakening to them. For some people, when they get on a stage in front of others and sing their heart out, they feel that bright connection to their spirit. For others, when they work on a mechanical project, they feel connected to something bigger in that moment. As you heal, you’ll feel your spirit and be able to more accurately hone into it.

Have Fun ! : Healing can often elicit images of depressing hospital rooms and the like. This does not have to be your healing process. Laughter will heal your bones faster than sitting in a situation you find to be depressing. Go to an amusement park, join a drum circle, get a dog, take that dog to the park, and the list goes on. Sunshine will blow away old cobwebs around your spirit if you spend some time in its warmth. Remember that healing is a process of making you stronger, which will allow you to laugh and cry more often.

Feel your emotions : Allow those emotions to come out of their suppressed cases. If you hear a story that touches your heart, don’t hold back the tears; if they’re coming, this is your spirit talking physically. As a society we’ve learned that certain emotions are okay and that others aren’t, yet this is a false notion. Your emotions play an integral part to your life’s journey, don’t bind them to ideas brewed from misinformation. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, then validate that emotional response; don’t beat it up for happening. As you heal, you’ll find yourself becoming more comfortable expressing your true feelings, rather than what you believe others want.

Give back : Your spirits lift to new heights when you give to others, because you know that you’re using your gifts to their fullest potential. When you give, you’ll find that you get more in return. When you help others heal, you’ll find yourself healing in the process. Giving back doesn’t mean you have to volunteer somewhere destitute, or to even leave your house, because it’s different for everyone. Some people love writing inspirational blog, others enjoy cooking meals for their loved ones, and so it goes. Give back what you love doing, because you’ll bring a wonderful spirit to others and yourself.

  • Accept the problem and the pain. Be open about having the problem; you needn’t approve the pain, but the best way to manage the pain is to experience it completely, so that you are in a position to let go of the pain.
  • Be aware of the facts that pain (as well as pleasure) is a fundamental part of this world. Pain and pleasure are a package deal and come together.
  • You should realize that there are many individuals who have the same problems which you are facing and which are as bad, if not worse.
  • Try to empathize with the other individuals who are also suffering and wish you could do something to help them.
  • Try to develop the wish that you could take on some of their sufferings or problems through a type of transmission. Try to imagine that your pain now somehow includes a portion of their sufferings and thereby relieves them of some of their pain.
  • Imagine that you are not only taking on a part of their suffering, but also you are giving them some of your happiness so you can help them also. Visualize their problems entering your heart as a thick, black smoke, and your kindness flowing out to them as a pure, white light.

Continue doing this until you have a feeling of achievements.  This is a marvelous practice and helps you in balancing out your personality.

Spiritual healing is about being the author of your very own medicine story.

 

Myths about natural medicines :

#1 – Naturopathic medicines isn’t scientific :  There is a growing body of scientific evidence supporting Naturopathic medicine as well as many of the therapies and medicines we use. Naturopathic medicine is also becoming a more mainstream health care choice. Naturopaths rely on lab tests, clinical observations, physical exam, and logical analysis, as well as traditional medical knowledge, which is increasingly being studied in the scientific literature.

#2 – Naturopathic medicine unsafe : The safety record of Naturopathic Medicine is excellent. This makes sense given  emphasis on gentle, non-invasive treatments, and the fact that they are a regulated healthcare profession. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are trained to avoid interactions between the medicines and therapies conventional medicines and therapies are recommended.

#3 – Naturopaths can’t treat serious health concerns : Naturopaths can treat many health conditions that have a big impact on health and your quality of life, or they can also simply work at improving quality of life if cure is not possible. In many cases Naturapathy medicines had successfully treated serious diseases where allopathy has given up hopes for patients

#4 – Naturopath and homeopath mean the same thing : Major difference between a Homeopath and a Naturopath is that  all Homeopaths only use homeopathy as a treatment tool, that is dilute medicines placed on sugar pills. In contrast, Naturopathic doctors may use homeopathy as one of many treatment tools.

#5 – Naturopathic medicine is only for wealthy patients : When viewed with a longer-term lens, the cost savings and improvement in life quality from disease prevention is worth the up-front investment for many patients. They see the value in prioritizing care with naturopathic physicians for their overall health. Effectively its cheaper than allopathy medicine over a period of time.

#6 – If it’s natural, it must be safe : Just because something is “natural” does not necessarily mean it is safe. Natural products may have contraindications. It is important to consult with a licensed naturopathic doctor before beginning treatment to ensure that what you are taking is appropriate.

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