How Naturopaths Help Re-Establish the Basis for Health
How does naturopathic medicine work? How can I find long-term solutions for my wellbeing? What kinds of health recommendations do naturopaths make?
Re-establishing the basis for health isn’t something we can achieve by merely managing the symptoms of disease. We might feel better for a while, but it won’t give us what we really want: a healthier and more vital life.
Ultimately, our health rests upon a foundation of individual, environmental, and societal factors that form the building blocks of life. Our habits, for example—how we live day in and day out—have a profound influence on our long-term health. Health comes from healthy habits.
When we’re frustrated with trying to find a healthier life balance, and unsure about the best tools to utilize, true healing is difficult. This doesn’t have to be difficult though, with a naturopathic doctor you love healing can be fun, energizing and rewarding.
“The influence of these lifestyle and environment factors on the human organism is indisputable, and they are often agents in the battle for health,” says the Textbook of Natural Medicine. “Ignoring them in favor of the quick fix of writing a prescription—whether for pharmaceutical agents, nutraceuticals or botanicals—means the cause of the underlying dysfunction may be obscured but not eliminated.”
There are many different factors that influence our health. Each individual’s genetic makeup, unique constitution, thought processes, belief systems, environment, and chosen lifestyle all play a role. A naturopath works to map out each patient’s unique health profile, identifying which factors are getting in the way of reestablishing balance.
Knowing these factors helps the physician determine what lifestyle changes are needed to enhance the individual’s healing process. It also empowers the patient to develop habits and seek tools that will support their long-term health. This is the foundation for how naturopaths help you to transform and optimize your health.
When working with you to re-establish a strong basis for health, your naturopath will consider a variety of lifestyle and environmental factors such as:
Exercise is important for everyone, but how much we need—and the types of activities we should focus on—vary from person to person. A weight-training program might be optimal for some patients, while others may simply need to get out and walk. Your naturopath can work with you to develop a customized exercise routine that meets your needs. They can also help you find ways to stay motivated and stick with it.
Exposure to fresh air bolsters your immune system, reduces stress and makes you feel happier. Yet so many of us today live our lives cooped up indoors or breathing polluted air, not realizing that the lack of fresh air is undermining our health. Your naturopath may ask questions about air quality or suggest getting outdoors for some fresh air as part of your overall wellness plan.
Our bodies are composed of 60 to 70 percent water. We use water to regulate our body temperature and carry nutrients to all of our organs. Yet many of us don’t get enough of it. In many places, water can also carry pathogens and pollutants that build up in the body over time and become an obstacle to achieving health. Part of your naturopath’s job is to make recommendations about how much water to drink—and how to ensure it’s clean enough to support rather than hinder your healing.
Some constitutions function best when they’re regularly cleansed and certain foods are eliminated from the diet. Others don’t respond well to cleansing or removing foods but thrive when nutrition is added to the diet. Nutritional testing can help identify the right nutritional balance to keep you functioning optimally. It can also pinpoint nutrient deficiencies that are undermining your overall health.
Whether we realize it or not, our health is shaped in large part by the environment we live in. This includes both our outdoor and indoor environments. Lack of sanitation, insufficient heat and hazardous substances in the air, water, soil and food can all impede the body’s natural healing process. A naturopath will work with you to identify environmental factors that may be sabotaging your health. They’ll also help you figure out ways to eliminate or minimize them.
Our homes can contain a lot of substances that interfere with our body’s ability to function optimally. From carpets to cleaning supplies, our homes are filled with noxious chemicals that are destructive to our wellbeing. Common indoor air pollutants such as mold, dust and pet dander can keep our systems in a permanent state of inflammation. Your naturopath may make some recommendations about how to make your home less toxic.
Your physical health is inextricably linked to your mental and emotional health. What happens to one affects them all. As we grow and mature, we often develop thought patterns that become like mental tapes, replaying over and over in our minds. When these thought patterns are negative, they can become harmful to our health, leading us to act in self-destructive ways. Your naturopath can help you find ways to disrupt the thought patterns that are holding you back and develop positive mental habits that will support your overall wellbeing.
Your perspective is the lens through which you view the world. It colors everything you think, feel and do. Some people use the phrase “perception is reality”—and it’s true. Our perceptions shape our individual reality and inform how we react to the world. For example, if you believe that feeling good is impossible for you, then you probably won’t be motivated to make the necessary changes. Sometimes when we’re struggling with our health goals, what we need is a fresh perspective on things. A naturopath can help you find it.
Your thoughts and emotions work together to form a feedback loop. When we feel certain emotions, we often attach them to certain thoughts. The next time we have that thought, it carries an emotional charge. When these thoughts become repetitive, or when too many of our mental patterns become emotionally charged, our inner turmoil can create a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety, which take a toll on our health. A naturopath can suggest practices to help you cultivate a calm mind from which wellness can flourish.
To discover the best starting point for your individual state of health, make an appointment to see one of our Portland naturopaths today.