12th Mar 2018
Do you frequently get a cold? A stiff back? A splitting headache? Indigestion?
Before making your way to the medicine cabinet and popping a few of your favorite medicines or painkillers, stop for a moment… and think. Try to recollect how often you reach out for those pills, and whether you are addicted to them. Do they provide you only temporary relief or are they long-term solutions to your health problems?
Take your time when you think and consider this: Often, allopathic medicines offer temporary relief and don’t take away the root cause of the problem.
Naturopathy, on the other hand, believes that the power to restore health lies not in drugs but in nature. The safe, scientific and lasting approach of naturopathic treatment makes it an important system of today’s health care and something of a 21st century buzzword.
According to the late Sir William Osler, an eminent physician and surgeon, “Drugs cause the patient to recover twice – once from the illness and once from the drug.”
The modern medical system treats the symptoms and suppresses the disease, but often does little to ascertain the real root of the problem. For example, when the body shows a symptom of ill health, such as a headache, the medical system prescribes taking of an aspirin to provide relief. This is a quick fix and not a long-term remedy.
Naturopathy believes that the headache is the result of some imbalance in the body’s health. It seeks to find the cause of the symptom and then treats it with natural changes based on individual requirements.
The practice of naturopathy can be traced back to over a thousand years to the time of Hippocrates, the father of medicine (460 – 357 B.C.).
He considered disease to be an effect of imbalances in natural elements such as air, water, sunshine and nourishment. He was of the opinion that ‘nature cures, not the physician.’
As the name suggests, naturopathy is the treatment or prevention of disease without drugs, using natural therapies like changes in diet and lifestyle to treat health problems. It is based on the belief that the body is self-healing and has the ability to repair itself and recover from illness, if in a healthy environment.
A HOLISTIC APPROACH
The stresses of modern life take a toll on our health and physical problems are invariably a result of these stress-related emotional imbalances. The basic foundation of naturopathy is that the mind, body and soul are interconnected and cannot be treated in isolation. Before concluding what the course of treatment should be, all aspects of the individual – emotional, physical and mental health – are taken into consideration.
Known by different names – naturopathy, nature cure, the natural methods, science of healing, healing within – its philosophy is based on one simple principle. Leading a wholesome, balanced life. Naturopathy believes that man is born healthy and strong, and that he can remain that way if he lives in accordance with natures’ laws. Fresh air, sunshine, healthy food habits, adequate exercise, rest, relaxation, positive thinking and positive actions, all play their part in keeping the mind, body and soul healthy and well.
Our bodies are subjected to a swarm of toxins every day. According to naturopathy, the primary cause of all diseases is the accumulation of waste and toxins in the body. Toxins accumulate due to incorrect eating habits, pollution, smoke, stress, pesticides, preservatives found in food and a sedentary lifestyle. When toxins build up in the body, it begins to function less efficiently. The symptoms can be anything from lethargy to irritability and problems ranging from the common cold, fatigue, headaches, abdominal distention, joint pain, obesity and infections to feelings of anxiety and oppression of the heart and lungs.
A diet and lifestyle that aids detoxification, helps control and reduce toxin build-up and also boosts energy levels. Naturopathy refers to detoxification as ‘nature’s fundamental law of all healing and curing’.
A look at some of the detoxification methods:
Pranayama or breathing techniques: They improve digestion and elimination.
Yoga asanas: Postures such as the spinal twists stimulate and cleanse the colon, liver, gall bladder, spleen and pancreas. Back bends are great liver detoxifiers.
Regular exercise: Exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling and so on, improve the body’s circulation, which in turn helps detoxification.
Physical treatments: A wide variety of treatments, such as mud baths, steam baths and massages stimulate blood flow and help rid the body of toxins.
Fresh, healthy organic foods: Eating right foods gives the system its necessary nutrients and roughage, prevents toxic build-up and gives the body adequate strength to eliminate waste from the body.
Consumption of certain herbs can also help clean the system.
Fasting or abstaining from certain food groups helps elimination.
DIET AND DETOXIFICATION
Erratic and improper food habits burden the digestive system slowing down the body’s function of elimination. It is therefore a good idea to go on a fast or abstain from certain foods at least once a year, to reduce accumulated toxins and impurities present in the body. This helps the organs of elimination – the bowels, kidneys, skin and lungs — to expel the overload of waste from the system.
The duration depends on the health, age and ailment of the individual. During this period, the naturopathic doctor might prescribe the use of enemas or natural laxatives like herbal powders or teas to assist bowel movement. Long periods of fasting should not be undertaken without professional guidance. Fasting must be avoided in case of ailments such as diabetes, tuberculosis, anemia and other symptoms of weakness in the body.
Possibilities of detoxification through elimination of foods are plenty. You could fast on water, juices, raw vegetables, and fruits or eliminate one or more food groups (cereals/ milk products/ sugar/ fats, etc.) from your diet.
It is important to keep in mind that while fasting large amounts of energy are utilized in the process of elimination. So, it is essential to adequately rest and relax the body and mind during this period.
Fasting provides rest to the digestive, assimilative and protective organs. Therefore, their functions are greatly improved after detoxification. This process also normalizes, stabilizes and rejuvenates the physiological, nervous and mental state of the mind.
12-DAY EASY TO FOLLOW DETOX PLAN
You don’t have to wait to fall ill to detoxify your system. It is wise to eliminate the accumulated toxins and cleanse the body once or twice a year to restore physical and mental health, vigour and vitality.
Remember to consult your doctor before starting this detox plan.
Note: It is essential to drink at least 8 glasses of water during these 12 days to aid elimination.
DAYS 1 AND 2 : JUICES
Drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices every 3 hours. Choose any from orange, sweet lime, pineapple, grapefruit, and tomato.
DAYS 3 AND 4 : FRUITS AND UNCOOKED VEGETABLES
Eat any of the two fruits every three hours – apple, orange, grapefruit, pomegranate, melon.
Lunch and dinner should consist of a bowl of salad comprising tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, grated carrot, spinach. You can add a pinch of salt, pepper and lemon juice for salad dressing.
DAYS 5 AND 6 : REPEAT DAY 3 AND 4; ADD 3 BOWLS OF VEGETABLE SOUP
Ingredients: pumpkin, carrot, cauliflower, celery, any green vegetables
Method: Steam veggies. Add water and blend the veggies in a blender. Heat the olive oil in a pan, and then add veggies and seasonings of your choice (coriander/ pepper/ thyme/ any herbs).
Eat one bowl of soup morning, noon and night.
DAYS 7 AND 8 : VEGETABLES (COOKED AND RAW)
Cooked vegetables: use one-teaspoon olive oil for the entire day.
Vegetables of your choice, excepting potato. Eat one bowl cooked vegetables mid-morning, noon and night. Raw vegetables or salads can be consumed as often as you like.
Add salt, pepper and lemon juice for salad dressing.
DAYS 9 AND 10 :ONE BOWL OF FRUIT, COOKED AS WELL AS VEGETABLES
Eat one bowl of fruits (listed in day 1 and 2) for breakfast.
Then for the rest of the day, it is the same as days 7 and 8.
DAYS 10 AND 12 : ADD 4 CHAPATTIS TO DAYS 9 AND 10
Add 2 chapattis without oil / butter or ghee for lunch and dinner.
Note: It is essential to gradually add more foods, when you get back to regular eating habits. The transition should be planned carefully to avoid any discomfort or damage.
Mostly, naturopathy focuses on gentle treatments that do no harm. Drastic dietary restrictions can undermine good health and should be avoided. For example, excessive fasting or consistent use of enemas can upset the body’s balance of fluid and minerals and lead to potentially dangerous consequences such as weakness or even irregular heartbeat. If a dietary recommendation seems extreme, your wisest course is to consult a physician knowledgeable about nutrition. Potential adverse effects of most naturopathic therapies are few and mild. But remember, “natural” does not invariably equal to “safe”. It is more important to be sensible. To avoid any pitfalls, make sure you consult a licensed naturopath who has good safety records.
The treatment methods of naturopathy are so many that a practitioner can become a specialist in any one particular field. Practitioners range from physicians to massage therapists and their approach to diagnosis varies accordingly. According to all practitioners, evaluation of diet and lifestyle is considered crucial. Also, if the practitioner has a high level of medical expertise, diagnosis may involve laboratory analysis, X-rays and a physical examination.
Recommendations for treatment may include one or more of the following naturopathic remedies, depending on the symptoms and the practitioner’s philosophy and experience.
- Massage therapy
- Water treatment
- Body wraps
- Steam/ sauna Detoxification
- Application of hot, cold, mud packs
- Stress reduction and relaxation techniques
- Acupressure/ Acupuncture
WHY NATURAL REMEDIES?
From skepticism to belief, we have come full circle!
The ‘natural way’ has become part of our lifestyle and we have turned once again to home remedies and natural cures.
Why is everyone talking of natural remedies these days? The answer is not too difficult to find. These cures are simple, hundred percent natural, inexpensive and above all, have no side effects.
Minor ailments like common cold, pains and cuts or aches, acne and dandruff can be treated with natural remedies. The chemicals present in herbs, spices and other foods tackle the offending foreign element in the body that causes the infection or pain.
Natural remedies can be used effectively to treat a range of ailments through correct and regular usage, be it boosting your child’s immune system, preventing hair loss, treating persistent acne or dandruff, treating aches, pains or cuts and burns.
Research findings have shown that herbal supplements have brought about an overall improvement in the health of some patients. Here are some natural remedies for common ailments. Please do consult your naturopath or physician before trying them out.