It’s not a new idea: natural health — or naturopathy — has been around for a long time. But what the heck is it, really? And in this modern day, why should we care?
I used to think natural health was a hokey alternative to real medicine. Something used by hippies or talked about in old wives tales. Sure, I followed the belief that “natural is better,” but I didn’t pursue any education on the subject. After all, as a skeptic I like facts and science. And all the basic info I found about natural health seemed…wishy washy. Or worse, simply product pushing.
So what is all the hub-bubb about natural health and what does it really mean?
There isn’t exactly a dictionary definition on the subject, but the general idea is treating the body as a whole with natural methods. That means looking at more than just symptoms or a single illness, and taking into consideration eating habits, sleep patterns, stress levels, etc.
And yes, treatment includes getting rid of toxic habits (smoking, excessive drinking, household chemicals, ect.) and using natural remedies such as herbal tinctures, essential oils, even organic, non-GMO food. Since natural health methods tend to be non-invasive, they can be used alone as a health plan or in conjunction with conventional medicine.
I know, your eyes just started to glaze over, but don’t let me lose you there.
This is where it gets a little gritty. Many believe natural health isn’t “real” science. In fact, it’s labeled by most as a “pseudoscience,” being based on theories and not scientific study.
But let’s take a look at what science is showing us these days about alternative and conventional health methods. For example, one randomized trial revealed aromatherapy with Orange essential oil was found to reduce pain in bone fracture patients. (2017, Indian J. Palliat Care) On the other side of the coin, one conventional medicine study published in 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, showed that “Acetaminophen…is the number one cause of acute liver failure in America. In one year alone, it sent as many as 78,000 people to the hospital.”
Now, these are just two examples and they’re not designed to indicate one method of health care is better than the other. They are simply to point out that there is increasing awareness of the pros and cons of both conventional and natural health.
One of the other benefits to natural health is the emphasis on self care: educating people on how to take care of themselves and increase their quality of life.
Some call it “preventative health.” Making good daily choices and health habits to take care of our bodies. Because the more we learn about how our bodies function, the better we can make educated decisions about our health. And I’m all about equipping people to make good choices.
When I talk to people seeking a natural health style, the biggest thing I notice is a sense of empowerment. They feel equipped to make decisions, are taking ownership of their health and actively seeking to improve it. And they often have what they need on hand, since a prescription isn’t required.
In Dr. Edward Group’s article: What Is Natural Health? A Comprehensive Guide to Living Healthy, he says natural health is reaching revolutionary proportions. Which begs the question: if so many people are having positive results, is it really hokey? Hmm…seems unlikely.
What do you like about natural health? What makes you uncertain? I’d love to hear!
The Effect of Aromatherapy with the Essential Oil of Orange on Pain and Vital Signs of Patients with Fractured Limbs Admitted to the Emergency Ward: A Randomized Clinical Trial, Indian J Palliat Care. 2017: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29123351
Characterization of acetaminophen overdose-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations in the United States, Manthripragada AD, Zhou EH, Budnitz DS, Lovegrove MC, Willy ME 2011: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21294217
What Is Natural Health? A Comprehensive Guide to Living Healthy, Dr. Group 2018: https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/natural-health-guide-to-living-healthy/