Nature is powerful; every ancient culture in the world has relied on nature as a healing tool in one way or another.
Today, we’ll explore natural therapy and the value of exploring this avenue of healthcare.
What is meant by natural therapy?
Natural therapy is an umbrella term for natural disciplines that stimulate the body’s capacity to heal without synthetic drugs or invasive procedures. Instead, they incorporate ancient healing philosophies and natural remedies.
They may also be known as natural medicine or naturopathic medicine.
Popular natural therapies include herbal medicine, homoeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Ayurvedic medicine, and nutritional therapy.
Many people turn to natural therapy as a last resort – when conventional care hasn’t found the root of their symptoms. While it operates outside allopathic medicine, natural therapy is gaining recognition and popularity within this paradigm.
Is natural therapy the same as natural medicine?
Natural therapy and natural medicine are interchangeable and rooted in the same philosophy. They are also known as alternative medicine.
However, natural therapy is not the same as holistic and complementary medicine, which is used as a supportive therapy alongside conventional medical treatments.
How long has natural therapy been around?
Natural therapy has been around (in an unofficial sense) since the beginning of human existence. Ancient tribes relied on plant medicine to survive harsh environments.
Indian Ayurvedic medicine, for example, is known as the oldest form of healthcare. Records suggest Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been around for over five thousand years.
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used natural therapies and plant remedies back in the fifth century BC.
That said, natural medicine has been formalised over the last century. Many therapies are now regulated by law or overseen by professional governing bodies to increase their safety.
What are the principles of natural therapy?
Most natural therapies follow these common principles:
- View each person as a bio-individual with unique needs
- Identify the root cause of symptoms to support self-healing
- Always treat the whole person instead of seeing the disease as separate from the person
- Take physical, mental, emotional, and social factors into account
- Emphasise prevention over cure
- Teach patients about a healthy lifestyle
Natural therapy often requires you to become an active participant in your healing journey through diet, lifestyle, and mindset changes.
What are the benefits of natural therapy?
Natural therapy is helpful for people unable (or unwilling) to take prescription drugs due to side effects.
Some of the benefits include more energy, better digestion, healthier skin, more calm, a clearer mind, and pain relief. Your immune system may also become more resilient with natural medicine.
Natural therapy gives you back your agency. You and your practitioner work as a team towards your health goals.
What are the most popular natural therapies?
There are a wide range of natural therapies; here are a few of the most popular therapies:
Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient natural therapy originating from India. It emphasises plant medicine, eating seasonally, eating according to your body type (dosha), and detoxifying the body naturally.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)
This is one of the oldest and most well-known natural healing systems. It believes the human body has a vital life force energy — known as “Qi” — that circulates along different energy meridians. If the energy flow is disrupted, TCM believes this leads to health issues.
TCM therapies include acupuncture, herbal medicine, moxibustion therapy, acupressure massage, cupping therapy, yoga, and qigong. The aim of TCM is to remove energy blockages and stimulate the free flow of vital Qi energy.
Herbal medicine uses remedies made from plants rich in anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial compounds. This may include herbal tea, tinctures, powders, tablets, tonics, and topical ointments.
Several natural therapies use herbal medicine, including Western herbalism, TCM, and Ayurvedic medicine.
Homoeopathy uses highly diluted remedies based on the theory that “like cures like.” Practitioners take a thorough case history and ask detailed questions to find the best remedies for your symptoms and constitution.
Nutritional therapy uses dietary adjustments to prevent illness, boost immunity, regulate weight, and support digestion and detoxification. It is a useful therapy for treating allergies and food intolerances.
Osteopathy is a natural bodywork therapy that realigns the musculoskeletal system. This helps your skeleton, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood, lymph, and nerves move and function optimally.
Other popular natural therapies include chiropractic care, massage therapy, applied kinesiology, reiki, and the Alexander Technique. They all aim to bring the body back to a state of balance and optimal health.
What are the risks associated with natural therapy?
Many people prefer natural therapy because it’s low-risk, drug-free, and non-invasive.
However, not all natural compounds are safe to consume and may interact with certain medications. In addition, not all natural therapies are evidence-based.
Always consult your primary care doctor before starting a new treatment or therapy.
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