Naturopathy has been around for thousands of years and its origins are deeply rooted in Greek medical philosophies. Many people wonder how naturopathy works and what its purpose is, but before we get into that, it’s important to know and understand the body’s natural self-healing abilities.
To fully understand how naturopathy works, let’s start from the very beginning (literally)
Every single one of us began as just one single cell. This cell was divided into more cells and then divided again, until finally – 9 months later – the finished product is, well, you. Aside from our mothers’ help, our bodies quite literally built themselves, one cell at a time. Creating a system of processes and functions that all work together to preserve our health and keep it in balance. If you thought working 50+ hours a week is hard work, then you’re about to be proven wrong by yourself. The cells in our bodies are working every second that we’re alive to make sure everything continues to function smoothly. Not only are our cells insane workaholics, but they’re also great at multitasking; they’re consistently monitoring and adjusting themselves to be restored to the DNA code they were created with while concurrently maintaining balance within the body.
We are made up of trillions of cells, and each one of them has its own responsibility; and there are about 200 different types of cells. Our bodies make an average of 2 to 3 million red blood cells and 250,000 white blood cells per second. Our cells hold the blueprint – the design – they know the most natural state of the bodies that host us, and they have the ability and knowledge to heal themselves.
Naturopathy: the body’s natural ability to heal itself
Our bodies possess a fascinating, relentless, and extensive ability to heal themselves. Colds, bruises, cuts, and broken bones are just examples of instances where our body can recover and heal without us even being consciously aware. Our cells work to heal themselves and make new cells to replace destroyed or damaged ones, and they do it quickly. If many cells are destroyed, all of the surrounding cells can replicate the destroyed ones and replace them in very little time. A perfect example of this process is when we get a cut. As soon as the injury occurs, blood vessels work to slow the bleeding, and platelets begin to form a blood clot once they contact the air.
Next, our white blood cells will destroy and digest the dead cells, and the dead-cell debris is removed, allowing space for new cells. Synchronously, new cells begin to form and fill the space caused by the injury. Once the body recognizes that healing is complete, this process stops. Injuries are only one example of the healing process; our bodies replace bad cells in large quantities every day from everywhere in our body.
There are two major operating systems within our autonomic nervous system – the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system cultivates our “fight or flight” instinct, and it produces the body’s response to stress. The parasympathetic system produces the opposite; it generates the relaxation response. These two operating systems control our homeostatic state, also known as “homeostasis.” Homeostasis is defined as the process that all living beings use to maintain the stable conditions necessary for survival. However, some factors affect the body’s natural self-repair mechanism, which also disturbs homeostasis, resulting in chronic injuries and health conditions that don’t typically respond to conventional treatments.
When blocks to the self-healing process occur, it is necessary to determine what they are and how they were caused. Without proper exploration, healing will not be complete, and the injury or condition will persist or worsen. Our bodies can heal almost anything. If there comes a time when they can’t, it’s not because the disease or disorder is too powerful. It is because the body’s natural self-healing mechanism is impaired and requires reparation and attention. For many, our first impulse when sick or in pain is to reach for pain-killers, antibiotics, and other forms of over-the-counter medications to take on the disease or improve symptoms. However, we often forget about looking at our self-healing powers first.
How naturopathy works
Naturopathy is a patient-centred system that utilizes natural remedies to promote the body’s natural healing process. It treats people of all ages with all health concerns, including acute, chronic, physical, and psychological.
It has been practiced for over 125 years in North America and focuses on optimal health, prevention, and treatment. Natural therapies frequently used in naturopathy are clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulation, botanical medicine, and homeopathy. Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) use non-invasive techniques and natural substances to treat patients and offer valuable knowledge and insight on illness prevention, diet, and lifestyle for sustainable health. NDs focus on getting to the root of the problem by understanding the origins of the disease. Naturopathy intends to treat the entirety of the patient, meaning their mind, body, and spirit.
Examinations may take 1 to 2 hours, and the NDs will ask questions about health history, stress, lifestyle, and lab tests may also be ordered. They will analyze the patient’s concerns and then provide them with natural remedies and practices. This may include suggesting new eating habits, offering tips about proper posture and breathing, recommending massages and the use of aroma oils. Emotional stress, food sensitivities, and an imbalanced lipid are all examples of things that hamper our optimal healing, NDs are trained to identify these.
Some naturopathy benefits include:
- Stimulating the immune and lymphatic systems
- Maintaining overall health and well-being.
- Improve nutritional balance – this can also include naturopathy for weight loss.
- Promote potential for self-healing
- Becoming more aware and in-tune with your body
- Eliminating toxins
Let’s take a look at six naturopathic tips to promote overall wellness
1 – Stay positive and reduce stress
Maintaining a positive mindset can revolutionize your quality of life and greatly reduce stress levels. Stress is one of the largest factors affecting our overall well-being and triggers your body’s “fight or flight” instinct. Staying positive doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time, but rather, how you deal with and approach unpleasant situations. Positive thinking starts with self-talk – some self-talk can come from misconceptions and insecurities. Ensuring that you try and maintain positive self-talk as often as possible can greatly improve your overall level of positivity.
2 – Eat good food
We’ve all heard it before – “you are what you eat”- and while very redundant, it is true. You wouldn’t put olive oil in your car and expect it to run, so you have to think about your diet the same way. Start by making sure that you eat a healthy breakfast every day, eat frequently, and intuitively; all of this will stimulate your metabolism. No diet is perfect. Everybody is different so consider consulting an ND to determine the best nutritional plan for you.
3 – Get moving
Regular exercise has so many positive benefits that there’s no reason not to do some form of physical activity every day. It doesn’t have to be running or lifting weights; even just getting up to stretch and walk around can boost your blood and lymphatic system circulation. Cleaning the house, taking out the garbage, and playing with your dog are all little ways to keep active; you don’t have to be athletically inclined to get your body moving.
4 – Body rub and shower habits
Before or after you shower, practice doing the body rub for five minutes. Grab an unbleached or white organic cotton/linen/flax washcloth that has been dipped in hot water and start rubbing. Working from your fingertips to your heart and from your toes back up towards the heart again. Body rubbing has many benefits, including removing dead skin, improving gas exchange, increasing lymph circulation, stimulating the immune system and releasing toxins through the pores. At the same time, you’re showering, rub and massage your skin and try showering with hot water for one minute, followed by 30 seconds of cold water – as cold as you can handle – and repeat three times. This is called hydrotherapy, and it is also very beneficial in boosting blood and lymph circulation.
5 – Drink lot’s of H2O
Many of us are guilty of not drinking enough water every day. 50-75% of our bodies are made up of water; it keeps us hydrated, nourishes our cells, moves toxins out of the body, and helps our brains function. If you find water too bland, add some citrus like lemon, lime, or orange, and some mint or basil to give it a healthy, refreshing taste. It is recommended that we consume 8-10 cups of water a day, but the amount of water your body needs varies depending on weight, height, age, and activity level. A simple google search will help you determine how much water you should be drinking every day to stay healthy.
6 – Sleep, sleep, sleep
When your computer needs an update, it needs to turn off and restart to install the updates. When we sleep, this is our body’s way of updating and restarting. Our body restores and recharges itself during sleep, so you must get 6-8 hours of deep sleep every night to ensure your body and brain can function optimally. Sleep in complete darkness to promote melatonin release for better sleep, and only use your bed for sleeping and intimacy – avoid eating, working, and using screens here.
Implementing naturopathy in your lifestyle can help to promote your body’s natural healing powers. It has become more and more popular, and many people are starting to opt for natural approaches to the treatment and prevention of illness rather than using conventional medicine. With this growing popularity comes an increase in recognition for NDs as health care practitioners.
If you’re interested in naturopathy or just getting a second opinion on your health, make an appointment with an ND in your area!