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Understanding the World of Alternative Medicine More and more people today are opening their minds to alternative medicine and natural remedies for the things that ail them. It has become apparent that the driving force for the pharmaceutical companies is certainly not the health and wellness of those who are sick and suffering from illness, so people are choosing to look outside of conventional medicine. If you are one of the millions of people who are searching for a more natural route when it comes to your health, you will find that there are a few different choices to make. Let’s explore three of the most common groups in natural medicine: homeopathic, naturopathic, and Ayurvedic.
Homeopathy is a system of medicine based on the following principles: “like cures like,” minimal dose, and the single remedy.
- “Like cures like” is similar to the same philosophy doctors have when using antidotes and vaccines, but Homeopathy just takes it a step further. For example, if I have an ailment with symptoms mirroring that of mercury poisoning, my homeopathic remedy may consist of mercury.
- Minimal dose means that the remedy is extremely diluted – one part of the remedy to around 1 billion parts of water. In some cases, the more diluted the more effective it is.
- A single remedy means that no matter how many symptoms you are experiencing there will only be one diagnosis and one remedy. If I have a headache, a stomach ache, and leg cramps all at the same time, chances are they are all related and stemming from the same place so I am not going to be given something different for each, but rather one specific remedy that treats the cause of all of those symptoms.
This is a distinctly natural approach similar to homeopathic healing in that it deals with the whole person and not each separate symptom. There are six underlying principles of naturopathic medicine:
- The Healing Power of Nature: Our bodies are very intricate and intelligent life forces with a natural ability to heal themselves. It is the goal of a naturopath to help facilitate a healing environment for the body.
- Identify and Treat the Cause: Symptoms are only expressions of the body’s attempt to heal itself. It is imperative to find and cure the root cause of the illness.
- First Do No Harm: All therapeutic actions must compliment the body’s natural healing abilities. It would be harmful to try and suppress the symptoms without removing the underlying cause.
- Treat the Whole Person: Each person must be treated taking into account physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors.
- The Physician as a Teacher: Creating a healthy doctor-patient relationship is important as it is ultimately the patient who manifests the healing in his or her body. The naturopath must fully educate the patient as well as give encouragement and positive energy.
- Prevention: With education comes prevention. Each individual should be armed with all of the necessary tools to live a healthy and productive life.
The Sanskrit word meaning Life Science, Ayurveda is another form of whole self health. This practice of wellbeing dates back over 5 or 6 thousand years in India. The philosophy behind Ayurvedic diagnosis and medicine is that all living things need balance; when things in the body, mind, and spirit are out of balance it causes “dis-ease.” Ayurveda works toward healing illness, preventing disease, and prolonging life through the “Tridosha” system. This system is made up of (you guessed it), three (tri) doshas (elements):
- Vata (air)
- Pitta (fire)
- Kapha (water)
Each person is different and tends to, whether by genetics or lifestyle, be more dominant with one dosha and since the key of this practice is balance, then the Ayurvedic practitioner would assess your dosha and ‘”prescribe” the right foods, herbs, exercise, and meditation (or calming practice) to balance your energy. This is a very intricate process of understanding the patient’s genetic makeup and lifestyle.
My advice as a lifestyle management coach and yoga instructor is to try to have a consultation with all three types of practitioners and make the choice for you that would best suit your life – make the decision of what you are willing and unwilling to do to keep yourself healthy and happy. Balance is key; a healthy body, a healthy mind, and a healthy spirit make for a happy person.
|Article Written By: Megan Helgeson is a freelance writer on health and wellness, a yoga instructor, and a personal lifestyle trainer--helping you get the most out of life with home organization, time management, nutrition, positive intention, and goal setting. Contact Megan at email@example.com**Don’t forget to ask about Diva Yoga Parties in Orange County. || |