The healing power of nature

By Dr. Brent Barlow

The fourth principle of naturopathic medicine is the utilization of the “healing power of nature”. Don’t worry, this is not some “woo woo” concept where we believe that nature magically cures everything. “The healing power of nature” refers to the innate healing ability that exists in our organs, tissues, and cells. You can see this innate healing ability every time a wound heals, you sprain an ankle, or run a fever. Our body has built in mechanisms designed to respond, repair, and recover from injury and illness.

Optimal healthcare should not only avoid getting in the way of this innate healing ability but should also take advantage and utilize it. Unfortunately, the conventional medical approach employs far too many tactics that work against the body’s healing mechanisms. A great example of this is with the use of anti-inflammatory medications like the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These are most often prescribed as a treatment for pain due to trauma. NSAIDs work to reduce pain by inhibiting inflammation. But, inflammation is the body’s major mechanism to heal from the trauma. Therefore, people who take NSAIDs after injuries actually inhibit their healing and over-time lead to an increased risk of degeneration of the injured tissues.

NSAIDs are only one example of the “Anti” approach in medicine. How many types of medications, supplements, and other medical interventions can you think of that have “Anti” in the title? Here are a few examples: antioxidant, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, antibiotic, anti-lithic, anti-diuretic, antidepressant, antihistamine, antispasmodic and so on. It seems like all you have to do is name a symptom or disease and put the word “Anti” in front of it and you will sure enough find a medical intervention that matches it.

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