“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
Naturopathy is a system of medicine which incorporates natural elements in the facilitation of healing. It is also has a distinct and opposing philosophical foundation on which it stands; it views the body, and the body’s healing process vastly different than conventional medical culture. Because it rests on a fundamentally different conceptual platform, naturopathy often becomes, or shapes the way of life of those who choose to follow its healing path. The deeper the pathology, the more this is true – a simple headache can be alleviated through an herb much in the same as taking Tylenol. However, when the headache is accompanied by diabetes, a heart attack history, or obesity, the necessary steps to “unwinding” years and years of toxic assault on the body is a lot more involved.
The road to healing is often long and complex, it will travel through pain and suffering, for that is where the healing must occur. It will also yield incredible insight, peace and freedom from obstacles that have held us back from living a life of happiness and joy.
In my mind, there are two initial steps that are mandatory as one embarks on a nauturopathic journey to heal.
1)Willingness to Change
Many of the things we do in our daily lives, and the manner in which we interact with others and ourselves are detrimental to our health. Things like the way we eat, rest (or refuse to rest), move and exercise, think, and relate to other people (our relationships) are literally killing us. These are foundational areas which often need to be altered. The trouble is, that most of us are extremely resistant to making changes in these key areas. Furthermore, these changes are often very difficult to make. Having a willingness to change in order to experience a new freedom in our lives is very necessary before searching out specific tools and treatments.
With willingness often comes a genuine interest, an interest in the changes to be made make those changes less daunting and overwhelming, and vastly more possible.
2) Understanding that the Body Can Heal
The biggest difference between conventional medicine and naturopathy is how each considers the healing potential of the human body. In naturopathy, the body is known to be intelligent and constantly striving to maintain balance, health and well-being. Any symptom – a cough, fever, headache, even depression, anxiety, or insomnia is a sign that the body is attempting to bring things back into balance. For this reason, symptoms are not merely looked at as something that needs to be stopped, but rather something that needs to be listened to. This is far different from the idea of conventional medicine that a fever or cough needs to be corrected through antibiotics, a treatment that looks at symptoms and disease as something that the body cannot handle and needs to be killed or cut out.
The idea that the body can and does heal itself is perhaps the most powerful and liberating aspect of healing. No longer do we need to “find the cure,” but rather support our body’s own inherent ability to heal. This is what naturopathy offers, the tools and foundation by which to support the body in healing itself.
There are many complexities and complications that undoubtedly will be encountered along the way; however, these two steps lead you down the path to being able to handle these issues as they arise.
In the next few blogs I look forward to continuing to explore with you ways in which the body can heal itself and provide freedom.