How Naturopaths Stimulate the Healing Process
Are these natural medicines working? Why am I still having symptoms? Am I getting any healthier?
So many of our modern medical cures seem to work like magic. We may simply take a pill and start feeling better right away.
But what we often don’t realize is that these fast-acting medicines are actually undermining our long-term health. Why? Because they work by suppressing our symptoms. We may feel better quickly, but the underlying problem goes unaddressed—and our overall health is further compromised.
Naturopathic medicine is about working with your body’s natural healing process to achieve deeper healing in a way that supports, rather than depletes, your innate healing power.
“The nature cure physician does not do battle with the disease entity,” says naturopathic doctor Jared L. Zeff. “Instead, we rely upon the healing wisdom, vital energies, and intelligence of the organism to restore normal and healthy function.”
And in nature, there are no shortcuts.
When disease disrupts its normal functioning, the body automatically strives to return itself to health. If unsuccessful, disease can linger, growing in severity and weakening our immune system even further. The longer we’re sick, the longer our journey back to health.
Naturopaths can help speed things along with treatments that stimulate the body’s self-healing mechanisms. These therapies lend and/or free up much-needed energy to help the body through the initial stages of the healing process. While the process still takes time, at the end of it many patients report feeling younger and more energetic than when they started.
How the Healing Process Works
When conditions are optimal, your body will naturally maintain a state of health. Even if a pathogen is introduced, a healthy immune system can usually fight it off and return to its normal state.
But sometimes disease enters a body that’s already compromised, and the immune system doesn’t have the internal resources it needs to restore health. Here’s how it happens:
1. Disturbing factors disrupt the body’s normal function.
Maybe we haven’t been getting enough sleep lately. Maybe we’re stressed out at work and don’t have enough time for basic self-care. There are many different disturbing factors that can throw the body out of balance, disrupting its ability to self-heal. Unless these factors are discovered and addressed, the disease will simply continue to reassert itself. A naturopath’s first priority is often to root out these underlying causes of disease.
2. The body reacts with natural defense mechanisms.
When we become sick, we often seek treatment for symptoms such as fever and inflammation because they make us uncomfortable. But the symptoms aren’t the problem. They’re actually the body’s defense mechanisms for restoring health to disturbed tissues. By taking pharmaceutical remedies that suppress our symptoms, we’re interfering with our body’s ability to heal itself. Naturopathic treatments, on the other hand, work to enhance rather than suppress these mechanisms, treating illness in a way that respects the body’s innate wisdom.
3. Remnants of the process are discharged from the body.
Once our immune system has conquered the problem, we’re left with all sorts of mucous and other remnants of the healing process. These must be discharged from the body—through coughing or a runny nose, for example—before we can return to full health. We often misinterpret these new symptoms to mean the disease is still flourishing. But if we mask the discomfort with more suppressive medicines, we merely end up drawing out this part of the healing cycle even more. The best thing to do at this stage is use naturopathic remedies to help the expulsion process along.
What Naturopaths Can Do
In today’s world, many people have been sick for a long time. Even if we’re not experiencing symptoms, we often lead lives full of disturbing factors that keep our bodies functioning at sub-optimal levels. Over time, these factors erode our natural healing ability.
What our bodies need at this point is extra energy to help kick-start its inner healing process. Naturopaths use a wide variety of both generalized and targeted treatments to enhance the body’s self-healing mechanisms, including:
- Non-suppressive botanicals
Hydrotherapy is an especially powerful way to give your immune system a boost. Submersing yourself in alternately hot and cold water “counteracts the effects of stress upon the digestive system, aids in detoxification of the blood by pumping more blood through the liver and the kidneys, as well as the stomach and intestines, is relaxing and tonifying at the same time,” Zeff says. “It is a profoundly healing treatment.”
To get a sense of how treatments such as hydrotherapy can help stimulate your inner healing process, you can try it yourself at home.
- STEP 1: Take a hot bath or sit in a hot tub for 10 minutes.
- STEP 2: Now submerge yourself in a cold bath for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
- STEP 3: Alternate between hot and cold two more times, ending on cold.
When you emerge feeling invigorated and energized, take note. That’s the hydrotherapy stimulating your immune and circulatory systems.
Want to discover more treatments that help enhance your body’s natural healing ability? Make an appointment to see one of our Portland naturopaths today.