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Understanding Natural Therapies

Blogger and Naturopath Victor Ihesie shares his thoughts about Natural Therapy and its role in general health care - Read on....

Photo of a woman's hand, palm up holding 4 different sized tablets - but Natural Therapy could be an alternative in some medical problems.


Chika didn't like hospitals very much. It had always been so - even as a child. Things got worse after her father died unexpectedly in a hospital intensive care unit late one night. She knew he hadn't looked after himself very well, and if he'd listened to his doctors, he may never have developed complications from Diabetes.

But now she faced a dilemma. She'd been forced to see a doctor as she'd been feeling very weak and tired lately. Now, she'd been told she, too, was diabetic. And they gave her a list of tablets she had to use every day - for the rest of her life. Fortunately, her best friend Eve was a Naturopath. She said that while medical treatments were of benefit in treating Diabetes, she could also help herself by using some natural therapy to keep her well and reduce her risk of developing complications.


Introduction to Natural Therapies

Your body has the inborn ability to protect and heal itself from internal and external harm.

Therefore - you could affect this ability by your lifestyle and environment you live in.

Natural therapies seek to restore your body’s ability to protect and heal itself using resources that freely exist in nature.

As a result, the goal in natural therapy (or natural healthcare) is treating your whole person; addressing root causes of illness and not just to stop your symptoms.


The Misconception and the Truth

The general misconception is: natural health care is about using herbs, fruits and vegetables, taken in nonspecific doses, to achieve health.

In addition, other people also associate it with the supernatural.

But these misconceptions arise from people’s experiences with local herbalists who claim supernatural skills.

But natural health care is much more and improving in some parts of the world at developing scientific basis.

Currently, there is growing understanding between natural health and conventional practitioners of proven health benefits of Natural Therapy.

This includes natural elements such as water, sand, heat and metals (like in the case of acupuncture), and sunlight.

I think the term "Alternative Medicine" is a popular misnomer for natural therapy.

This is ironic; considering that many forms of natural therapies have existed centuries before conventional medicine.

The main difference between the two is existence of evidence-based health care.

Without scientific evidence, many argue that it is difficult to support the benefits of natural treatments.

In addition, you have probably also heard that most natural therapies are crude, unhygienic, and in some cases, fetish.

However, many plants, trees and shrubs have medicinal and healing properties.


Where do Natural Therapies Come From?

Several natural elements are the original sources of conventional medicines.

They then undergo laboratory refinement and modification so they can provide health benefits at safe doses in the body.

For example, Metformin, a drug used worldwide for treating Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus; derives from the plant 'Goat's rue' (also known as 'French lilac').

Aspirin, the blood-thinning medicine which controls pain, prevents blood clots and reduces stroke risk is a product of the bark of the herb 'White willow'.

And Artemether, a key component of modern antimalarials and other medicines originates from species of the plant Artemesia such as 'Wormwood' and 'Mugwort'.

The early morning sun is a rich source of Vitamin D which is great for bone health.

Cold and hot compresses are products of several natural therapies.

Sitz baths and herbal soaks are very important for people in the treatment of conditions such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, fistulas, and chronic skin infections among others.


Natural Therapy and Conventional Medicine

Other natural remedies that natural health practitioners and orthodox providers agree have health value include the right and balanced nutrition and regular appropriate physical exercise.

Bad diets, poor nutrition and lack of physical exercise result in poor health.

These could negatively impact your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and wellness.

This is why health care providers (orthodox and natural), include nutrition counselling, exercise and lifestyle changes in managing various health conditions.

For example, in the treatment of some musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis, spondylosis, sciatica etc, you can get best results with a combination of conventional medication and therapies such as acupuncture, massage, herbs, and nutrition.

Now read more about the different types of Practitioners for Natural Therapies.


Conclusion

So what has your experience of Natural Therapy been? Like Chika in the introduction, would you lean towards Natural Therapy - and how?

Tell us in the comments below what benefit (or otherwise) they have and if you agree it should be included as an aspect of all health care provision.


More Reading:

Editing by AskAwayHealth Team

Disclaimer

All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly through info@askawayhealth.org

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2 thoughts on "Understanding Natural Therapies"

  1. Victor Ihesie says:

    Very incisive, apt and educative.

    1. administrator says:

      Thank-you.

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