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Do it nature’s way. Naturopathy or naturopathic medicine is best understood as any alternative to Orthodox Western Medicine. Naturopaths prefer finding a natural solution to illness before resorting to invasive surgery and prescription drugs, and are more concerned with the root-cause of a problem than the relief of symptoms. Some Naturopathic remedies you may have heard of include homeopathy, acupuncture and reflexology.
Naturopathy checks out how your mind and body are connected, looking at what your body is ‘telling’ you. It’s the classic ‘don’t put any more bad stuff in me’ whine that your dodgy stomach normally shouts post-weekend binge, only with a bit more science thrown in. It takes into account symptoms, general physical health and environmental toxicity. Those involved with the practice believe in correcting the imbalances in your body rather than covering them up with medicine.
What’s nice about naturopathic medicine is that it’s tailored for the patient; therapists consider all kinds of factors such as metabolic type, blood type, ayurvedic dosha, as well as an individual’s biochemistry, toxicity and energy-system when choosing treatment. The Naturopath will check over the patient’s medical history, and work through their lifestyle, exercise, sleeping, eating and drinking habits, before carrying out a routine medical examination on the client. This includes all the orthodox norms; taking blood pressure, analysing the pulse, testing reflexes, examining the iris’ and taking blood.
In Naturopathy, food intolerance and non-anaphylactic allergies bear the brunt of the blame for many apparently unrelated conditions. For this reason, naturopaths are quite keen on dissecting your diet, and substituting it for one that may make you feel better. Intestinal permeability (also beautifully known as ‘leaky guts syndrome’) is believed to contribute to systemic inflammation, food intolerances and autoimmune conditions, and is thought to be caused by consumption of those indigestible proteins such as gluten and lactose, that taste so good but hurt so bad.
Alternative treatments also include hot and cold baths or showers, saunas or steam baths, enemas or colonic irrigation, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. There are also some more exotic approaches, such as homeopathy, reflexology and ayurvedic massage. In some cases, the naturopath may recommend a period of fasting which might involve a three-day fast with only water or vegetable juice to drink. The key aim of the naturopath is to help the client to eliminate toxins from the body, thus freeing the body to re-balance, repair and heal itself.
An overburdening of toxins and waste products in the body is thought to be the root of all evil in a Naturopath’s bible, and they are keen to detox the body, removing all harmful materials that could be hurting you. Whilst it stands to reason that this can do your body no ill, orthodox medics claim that your body’s normal functions will detox for you, and that detoxification therapy a waste of time. This being said, certain conditions such as migraine, allergies and those involving whole-body imbalances such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME), are known to respond particularly well to a naturopathic approach.
The whole process of forcing your body to detox has proved controversial in recent years, and it’s been linked to heavy metal poisoning. There have also been reported side effects, such as significant diet changes and in some severe cases suicidal tendencies. Though naturopaths will claim this is all twaddle, it’s important to take the risks into consideration before choosing to go down the natural route. Just use your common sense and ease yourself into whatever method you choose gently, don’t go cold turkey on that coffee if you think it’s likely to push you over the edge!