Dear Health Seeker,
I entered this line of work because of a deep and abiding inspiration and respect for the wisdom of nature. We humans are of nature. Our bodies follow natural laws. We get sick when we ignore those laws, and we heal when we abide by and respect them.
In my undergraduate training, I loved learning about human anatomy and physiology. The way that science is often conducted is to break things down into smaller and smaller parts and study those parts. The complexity is incredible when you look at things in this way. A human broken down into different organs; an organ broken into different tissues; into different cells; into different components of cells; into proteins and DNA; into amino acids into nucleotides; into atoms; in electrons and protons and so on. But taking a step back, what I find even more inspiring is learning to notice the beauty of how all of these parts are not separate. The divisions are false. They work in concert, self-organize and follow patterns to produce life. When I say that the body is self-healing, I believe that utterly. Treatments that I give to my patients don’t “fix” or “heal” them. They work because they remove obstacles that are preventing those self-healing mechanisms from working, or they stimulate the healing forces already at work.
Disease is your body’s best attempt to adapt to dysfunctional circumstances. For example, when I see skin rashes, I think of liver dysfunction. You see, the liver is responsible for cleansing the blood of toxins, both those from the external world, and those produced by the body in the normal course of living. If the liver isn’t functioning optimally, the body is left with an excess of toxins. If you needed to make a decision of where to store excess toxins, would you choose to store them in the brain? The heart? The lungs? The kidneys? These are all vital organs that are required for life. The skin, while important, is not as vital, and it is therefore a wise choice to store toxins there instead of more important organs.
So what are the laws that we must follow to thrive?
- Breathe clean air
- Drink clean water
- Eat real food that is rich in nutrients and free from chemicals
- Rest when you are tired
- Move your body daily
- Follow daily rhythms of sleeping and eating
- Whatever you eat that is not fully digested and absorbed will cause harm, so choose foods that feel nourishing to your body, chew your food, and eat while relaxed.
- Cultivate community
- Cultivate connection with something greater than yourself, whether you call that being The Divine, God, Allah, The Great Unknown or some other name.
- Laugh and experience joy
- Experience gratitude
- Spend time in nature
- Treat symptoms of disease as signals from the body that something is amiss. Don’t suppress them with medications unless absolutely necessary and then only temporarily until the root causes can be identified and corrected.
- Relearn how to listen to your body. This is something you were born knowing. Many of us unlearned this skill to greater or lesser extents as we traveled through life trying to cope with external demands. But I promise you, if you start paying attention again, your body is perfectly capable of telling you whether you should stop eating or eat more, whether you should eat that candy bar, take a nap, say no, stay home, tell your friend you are upset.
This sounds simple (though it takes time), but it is bordering on an act of rebellion to choose to follow these laws in our society. Insisting on rest when you are expected to work 40+ hours per week while keeping your house clean and keeping up with social expectations? Refusing to suppress your cholesterol levels with a statin despite your doctor’s dire warnings? These are not easy things to insist on.
I learned of these natural laws in naturopathic medical school, and from mentors I have studied with since, but it has taken me some time to observe their truth and really trust them. I understand if it takes you time too. But I want you to know that this way of seeing the world and looking at health and disease exists. If you have tried other approaches and haven’t found the results you are looking for, perhaps it’s time to give this a try.