When the topic of natural health is brought up in conversation, some individuals have preconceived notions and associate it with what they know about modern medicine. Thus they consider it to be the taking of a supplement instead of a drug. Others immediately think of vegetarianism with hippie food faddists nibbling on nuts, berries, and birdseed. Still others acknowledge alternative practitioners such as herbalists, naturopaths, chiropractors, and acupuncturists.

To qualify natural health, it is important to understand from the onset that natural health and modern medicine are very different systems of health and healing. The medical system is concerned with symptom suppression, naming or finding a disease and then effecting a cure through the intervention of drugs and/or surgery. Natural health, on the other hand, recognizes that the body heals itself by wondrous design. Rather than immediate surgical removal of a diseased organ, the body is allowed to use its innate intelligence to bring about a cure. To assist this process, nature-provided raw materials and proven therapies are incorporated that do not interfere with or overtake the healing. This healing concept is easily understood by looking individually at the two words in its name.

Natural means derived from nature, in harmony with nature, or occurring in nature. Perhaps Thomas Edison best captured the essence of nature when he said, “Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge. It’s obvious we don’t know one millionth of one percent about anything.” Owing to its beauty, evidence of supreme intelligence, divine order, and creative genius, nature is the place where we can become grounded in thoughts and heart. Nature gives us a glimpse of the following foundational precepts:

1. Universal laws exist to which we must adhere.
2. One senses an awesome Designer when looking into the expansive universe or within the human body itself.
3. The human body is continually trying to heal itself.
4. Mankind benefits by practicing healthy living principles.
5. Nature provides therapeutic complements to the healing capacity within.
6. To see positive changes, causes of imbalances must be addressed; these may exist on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level.
7. Natural healing is long lasting since the body must do the work.
8. Health must encompass a holistic view, respecting the biodiversity, ecosystems, and harmonious balance within the human body itself.
9. Health requires stewardship of this planet.
10. We have an obligation to enlighten others of these precepts.

Health, the second word, means the absence of disease, possessing vitality or wellness. Since there is no disease in health, disease management is not a health-building process. Natural health requires one to work on building and achieving optimal health. The individual must make appropriate lifestyle changes to address the causes of imbalances such as poor diet, toxic exposures, lack of sleep, poor elimination, and so on.

The concept of natural health has been more common to cultures embracing Ayurveda or Chinese medicine, where empirical knowledge has been gathered over the millenniums using herbs and foods as medicines, along with body work, to support the healing processes. In the Western world, there were empiric herbalists, homeopaths, traditional naturopaths, and other practitioners who lost their familiarity to the general populace as allopathic medicine emerged in a changing political climate. Medical societies were restructured to embrace pharmaceuticals at the close of the nineteenth and in the early twentieth centuries.

Divergent thoughts have brought about changing systems of health care throughout history. Each time period has given birth to individuals who break free from the common mold of thinking of their day. For example, during the Renaissance in the fifteenth century, Paracelsus disagreed with the accepted Galen and Aristotle teachings. He wrote, “All that man needs for health and healing has been provided by God in nature; the challenge of science is to find it.” Three hundred years later, Samuel Hahnemann, the “Father of Homeopathy,” rejected the common use of toxic substances in the treatment of maladies. His contemporaries were using arsenic, opium, and mercury. Hahnemann set himself apart and delivered a kinder, gentler medicine. Interestingly enough, those physicians of medicine using mercury, or quicksilver as it was also called, were labeled “quacksilvers” by the herbalists of their day.

Within the realm of natural health, many modalities have emerged to enhance one’s quality of life and health. No single modality is the end all, for each of us has unique biochemical needs, health histories, genetics, patterns of living, and exposures to a variety of toxic substances. As time goes on, life presents each of us with new and different health challenges. Of greatest benefit would be a program that does not neglect any of the basic principles of healthy living:

a. nutrient-dense organic foods and quality supplementation
b. regular exercise
c. exposure to sunshine and fresh air
d. pure water
e. satisfying work
f. adequate rest and relaxation
g. proper sleep
h. effective management of stress
i. effective healing from emotional traumas
j. humor and laughter
k. feeding the spirit
l. periodic cleansing

A natural health approach is true prevention. It’s about not needing to rent space in the doctor’s waiting room. Instead, it makes us aware that responsibility rests with each of us individually to take excellent care of ourselves—yes, each and every day. Awareness acquired through an education and understanding of natural healing along with enthusiastic follow-through is a major part of a life of health, happiness, and real purpose.

Skilled direction goes a long way to bring about improvement where these areas of life need some tweaking. As in nature, balance is important. Our approach to health and healing must be balanced, taking into consideration all the aforesaid aspects. Leaving any one out would probably have us miss our goal of good health.

Natural health, qualified, should make good sense. After all, it is in harmony with life itself and all that seeks to perpetuate it. All we need do to begin is have the desire for better health and start asking questions of professionals in the natural health field.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health”, visit http://selfgrowth.com/healthbook3.html

Author's Bio: 

Susanne Morrone, CNC, grew up on a small farm in rural Pennsylvania amid a menagerie of domestic and wild animals. These early years were character building as they helped cultivate a deep appreciation for nature. She was later lured to the big city with a promising career in advertising and public relations. Creative writing became a passion, and she enjoyed publishing newsletters and working as assistant editor of a nationally distributed company magazine. Her career soon shifted to the medical field, and her experience helped her refocus on the importance of good health and serving others. Susanne graduated from Clayton College of Natural Health with a degree in holistic nutrition. She is the author of The Best Little Health Book Ever (Llumina Press, 2004). She can be reached by e-mail at naturalhealthchat@yahoo.com. For more information, visit her Web site at http://www.naturalhealthchat.com.