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What is Naturopathy?
What is Naturopathy?
In the dictionary, Naturopathic Medicine is defined as, “the integration of alternative practices such as Botanical Medicine, Homeopathy, Acupuncture, and Oriental Medicine with modern scientific diagnostic methods and standard of care.” In a few words, Naturopathy is the usage of natural methods and non-toxic remedies to improve or restore health.
Naturopathy has been around for centuries. The Chinese are known for their usage of acupuncture. The Greeks and especially Hippocrates described in their literature many Naturopathic principles like the usage and benefits of water, diet, massage, herbs and physical therapies. During the 19th century, Naturopathy was extensively developed with more than 20 Naturopathic schools in the United States (today there are only four). The practice of Naturopathic medicines declined as the use of pharmaceutical drugs increased. However, in the past several decades there has been a resurgence of interest in Naturopathy. Today there are more people consulting a natural health practitioner in the United States than their primary care practitioner.
The body’s inherent ability to heal itself: The body, with the appropriate use of non-toxic remedies, has the ability to recover its initial functions. For that to be accomplished, the Naturopath needs to investigate and find all the different causes of the symptoms expressed by the patient by conducting a very detailed questionnaire. Then, if it is possible, the naturopath will help the patient to remove, one by one, the obstacles (physical and emotional) that blocked the body to use its own self-healing process.
The notion of intoxination: Naturopaths consider that one of the reasons why people get sick is because their body is intoxicated by the consumption of too many chemicals and prescription drugs, as well as inappropriate diet. Thus, the Naturopath’s first goal is to help the patient to clear this state of intoxination.
Prevent and educate: Information and education are very important keys given to the patients to improve their quality of life. The Naturopath carefully and thoroughly explains to his patients how to eat better, how to exercise, and how to prevent most of the current diseases. This helps the patients to become more autonomous by a better understanding of how their bodies work. Thus, a typical Naturopathic consultation includes not only the recommendation of certain remedies, but also the explanation of the reasons the body may malfunctions. As a consequence, the patient becomes more and more knowledgeable and responsible for his own health.
The idea of the Whole Person: To really understand and find the primary causes of a person’s disease, Naturopaths always consider all the factors integrated in the patient’s lives. This includes their physical health, but also their psychological and emotional state, their environment, their genetic inheritance, and their professional and social life.
Nutrition: Good nutrition is the foundation of good health. Naturopaths take a considerable time to explain to their patient how their diet is important to improve their health conditions. A personalized nutrition program is built with the patient to meet his personal needs depending of his health problems. Generally, improvements appear very quickly if the patient follows the diet recommendations faithfully.
Every person is unique:
Naturopathy is very aware of the individuality of a person. As everyone is a very unique human being with his own past, his own story and his own sufferings, every treatment is personally adapted to fulfill each patient. Because everyone has a different health history, there is not a standard treatment and not a standard dosage of the remedies. Instead, Naturopaths recommend a specific and unique treatment to each individual.
What are the different techniques utilized in Naturopathy?
They are many different techniques used in the domain of Naturopathy, and each Naturopath chooses his/her own specialties during his/her studies. Those techniques are for example: Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Reflexology, different types of Massages Therapies, Iridology, Herbal medicine, Nutritional Therapy, Counseling, Mind-body therapy, Applied Kinesiology, or Cranio-sacral Therapy. We will detail some of them:
Only whole food based supplements are used to improve or restore one’s health. An unhealthy body has a lot of needs for supplements but only if when they are of the best quality can they be assimilated properly. Chemically made or extracted types of vitamins are at the most not efficient, at worst harmful.
Plants are used in different forms such as the entire plant in a tea (fresh or dried), a mother tincture (plant in alcohol), or as dried plants put in capsules. Throughout the ages people have turned to herbal medicine for healing. Many drugs used today originated in the herbal traditions of various cultures such as the medication commonly used for heart failure, digitalis, which is derived from Foxglove. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4 billion people or 80% of the world’s population use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary care.
Homeopathy is a 200-year-old practice developed by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann. It is based of two main principles. The first one states that a substance that can cause certain symptoms when given to a healthy person can cure the same symptoms in someone who is sick. The second states that the more substance is diluted, the more potent it becomes. Homeopathy is a very useful technique that has its best results on chronic symptoms because it really works on the origins of the disease.
What can Naturopathy address?
Naturopathy can improve and/or resolve almost all types of health problems from acute to chronic symptoms. Indeed, there are limitations for Naturopathic medicine, as for any type of technique or method. Naturopathy doesn’t perform miracles. Today there is more scientific research conducted on natural remedies to understand how they work. More and more physicians are accepting the concept of Naturopathy. Naturopathy can help in certain areas where conventional medicine cannot. But, Naturopathy also needs the competence of conventional medicine. Naturopathy is in fact a complementary medicine. When naturopathic and conventional medicine work together, all the benefits accrue for the patients, and that is certainly the most important.
Anyone who is concerned about his own health and wants to eliminate or reduce the use of chemicals medications. Anyone who wants a better understanding on how to prevent illness and cure it with natural remedies. Anyone who is ready to make changes in his/her way of living and thinking. Naturopathy is wonderful for babies, children, adults and the elderly. It is a family orientated medicine that can improve everyone’s health. “The body is the temple of the soul”, and we need to take care of our body very carefully if we want to live a happy and healthy life.
Beatrice Levinson is a Naturopath and submitted this article to MBHA as a member and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. For more information about membership, contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com
Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.
20 Alternative Approaches to Stress
What causes stress and how can we prevent it? Are there effective alternative, holistic, and complementary practices to treating stress besides prescription drugs?
What Does Current Research Say About Treatment for Stress?
Current studies show that Americans are not satisfied with healthcare programs addressing stress.
A recent study entitled, “Stress in America™: Missing the Health Care Connection,” was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Psychological Association, among 2,020 U.S. adults in August of 2012. The results of the study suggest that people are not receiving what they need from their health care providers to effectively manage stress and help them with necessary lifestyle and behavior changes needed to improve their health.
A little more than half (53%) of Americans said they receive little or no support for stress management from their providers. Thirty-nine percent (39%) said that they have little or no behavior management support. Thirty-five percent (35%) of Americans said that their stress increased this past year.
What are Stress Symptoms?
Stress symptoms can be emotional, physical, behavioral and mental or psychological. A person under stress might have the following symptoms:
- easily irritated
- mood swings
- not able to relax
- low self-esteem
- trouble focusing
- avoiding people and projects
- upset stomach
- muscle pain
- biting nails
- grinding teeth
- panic attack
- trouble swallowing
- cold or flu symptoms
- shaking or shivering
- drug use
- negativity (criticism or gossip)
How is Stress Diagnosed and Treated?
There is no specific medical test for stress but your trusted healthcare provider or family physician should do a thorough medical and psychological exam and evaluation. He or she will ask you about your family history, your work, your daily routine, and personal life to help determine “stress triggers” and discuss a plan of treatment. It might be helpful for you to keep a stress diary for a few weeks to determine causes of stress.
The doctor might also order blood and urine lab tests, EEG, EMG, MRI, or other tests to rule out other illnesses that might be triggering stress symptoms. Basic tests will include measuring your blood pressure and completing a questionnaire to test for depression. After making diagnostic or psychological tests have been completed, your trusted healthcare practitioner may recommend treatment.
Treatment may include lifestyle changes such as changes in diet, physical activity or exercise, meditation, or prescription medications. If you don’t feel comfortable with the doctor’s evaluation or plan of treatment, it is important that you trust yourself and your own body wisdom when making a decision. Make sure that you are working with a doctor as a member on your team, and that your healthcare professionals are working closely with you.
Which Types of Alternative Approaches Have Been Effective?
There are many types of alternative approaches that have been shown to be effective in relieving stress, however, most approaches take time and training for the person to be skilled enough to use it successfully, or for the hands-on practitioner to be successful in working cooperatively with the client to achieve success.
Research studies show that alternative approaches can ]reduce or eliminate stress symptoms. Exercise has been well-documented as a stress-reducer, as has prayer, deep breathing, and meditation. Hypnosis and massage are also highly effective alternative treatments to prescription drugs.
Some of the natural approaches to relieving stress are:
- Tai Chi
- Deep Breathing
- Music therapy
- Art therapy
- Dance therapy
- Drama therapy
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
- Flower Essences
- Essential Oils
- Homeopathic remedies
- Light therapy
- Crystals or gemstones
- Guided imagery or visualization
- Psychic healing
- Energetic healing/Reiki
- Counseling or Psychiatric
- Physical therapy
- Physical Exercise
For more information about which alternative or complimentary therapies or approaches are best for your needs in treating anxiety or stress, consult with your trusted health-care practitioner, or check out the resources below.
The American Institute on Stress
The Stress Resource Center – Harvard
Healthfinder.gov – Stress Management
Holistic Stress Management for Nurses
American Psychological Association
Huffington Post -Reduce Stress Now
Mayo Clinic – Stress Management
Keil, R.M.K. (2004) Coping and stress: a conceptual analysis Journal of Advanced Nursing, 45(6), 659–665
Viner, R. (1999) Putting Stress in Life: Hans Selye and the Making of Stress Theory. Social Studies of Science, Vol. 29, No. 3 (June 1999), pp. 391–410
O’Connor, T. M.; O’Halloran, D. J.; Shanahan, F. (2000). “The stress response and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis: From molecule to melancholia”. QJM : monthly journal of the Association of Physicians 93 (6): 323–333.
LE Walker Post-traumatic stress disorder in women: Diagnosis and treatment of battered woman syndrome.
– Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 1991
Hayes, Steven C.; Wilson, Kelly G.; Gifford, Elizabeth V.; Follette, Victoria M.; Strosahl, Kirk. Experiential avoidance and behavioral disorders: A functional dimensional approach to diagnosis and treatment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 64(6), Dec 1996, 1152-1168. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.64.6.1152, Special Section: Development of Theoretically Coherent Alternatives to the DSM-IV.
This article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.
Natural Headache Remedies
God dag, Hej, health and wellness enthusiasts.
Headache is one of the most common ailments and can be the result of a variety of causes including physical, emotional and mental distress, and chronic or acute illness or injuries. The majority of people choose to eliminate headache pain as quickly as possible, through the use of prescription or nonprescription drugs.
Most people experience common minor headache pain because of stress and tension due to the affects of changes in behavior, diet, or environment. The following natural remedies for headache may prove to be very helpful. These remedies are not intended as a cure or substitute for a doctor’s care. Headaches can be a symptom of a more serious underlying problem, so always check with your doctor or trusted health-care professional.
Here are a few helpful home remedies that might aide in relieving headache pain:
- Acupuncture – Acupuncture has been used for centuries to relieve tension, which may be causing the headache pain.
- Peppermint oil – Put some peppermint oil on the temples, neck or shoulders, and gently massage. Peppermint oil can naturally energize and soothe the nerves.
- Hot water bottle – A hot water bottle, heating pad, or heat pack can improve circulation and blood flow to the brain, which sometimes can cause headache pain. Apply heat to back of head, neck, and shoulders, to improve circulation.
- Ginger tea – Ginger has been known to be effective in alleviating headache pain. You can slice pieces of ginger, boil in water, and strain, to produce ginger tea, or it can be commonly found in most grocery stores in tea bags. Fresh ginger is the most potent. Boil the ginger in water for at least 10 minutes. For a stronger tea, allow to boil for 20 minutes or more, and use more slices of ginger. Remove from heat and add lime juice and honey, or agave nectar to taste.
- Meditation – Practice guided meditation techniques, deep breathing, listen to soft music, imagine you are in a place of peace and love, close your eyes, release the stress of the day, and allow yourself to experience a state of well-being.
- Exercise – Lack of exercise can cause stiffness and tension in the muscles resulting in headache pain. Step away from your work or daily routine and get outside, and go for a walk. If you work all day outside in the bright sun, then walk away from that situation and go inside for awhile. Do some light exercising and stretching. Jog, use a treadmill, do some situps. Get some fresh air.
- Massage – Therapeutic massage has been known to be very effective in relieving headache pain. Massaging the face, forehead, skull, neck, shoulders, back and limbs can help to release tension naturally and allow the headache pain to disappear. A full-body massage can be very relaxing and eliminate headache pain without the use of drugs and pain-killers, by reducing stress and increasing circulation.
- Ice packs – Cold packs can also be effective if heating pads or hot water bottles have not been. Apply ice pack on your head, throat, shoulders, and back of neck. Cold packs can help with headaches triggered from food allergies, stress, or worries.
- Rest or sleep – Maintain a normal sleep schedule, get plenty of rest. If it’s not possible to sleep, close your eyes, darken the room, and rest. Lack of sleep or interrupted sleep is one of the most common reasons for headache pain. If you believe that you are not getting enough sleep, you might choose to schedule an appointment with a sleep clinic. Sleep clinics can determine the cause of restless sleep, including sleep apnea, a serious breathing disturbance, causing snoring, and resulting in not enough oxygen to the brain. Eye strain is a very common cause of headache. If you wear glasses, make sure that your prescription is current. If you work on the computer all day, take time to rest your eyes several times throughout the day. Resting the eyes (from eye strain), voice (from talking all day), ears (from noisy environment), and body (from overdoing and straining muscles) can eliminate headache triggers.
What has been effective in relieving your headache pain?
Best wishes to you for a healthy, happy day.
Your health and wellness friends at MBHA.