Natural Therapies Lead the Way in Health
This is a reprint of an article first published by HealthPost at www.healthpost.co.nz
Natural therapies have a vital part to play in an integrated, holistic approach to health and well-being.
Safe, effective natural therapies and treatments are an essential part of the solution to revitalising our decaying public health system, yet many doctors still refuse to open their minds to Nature’s medicines.
A recent article published on the stuff.co.nz website quoted doctors’ opinions on the efficacy of natural health therapies and products, claiming they are largely ineffective and not supported by science. For balance the article then quoted several individuals who regularly use various natural health products, all with good results.
Missing from the article was any input from qualified natural health practitioners, the professionals with most experience in their respective fields. Naturopaths, homoeopaths and medical herbalists, not doctors, have the specific professional training, experience and knowledge to assess the efficacy of natural treatments. Why weren’t responses sought from the NZ Society of Naturopaths or another recognised body?
Unfortunately the doctors’ claims as reported were generalised and lacked specific detail in support of their assertions. It comes across as nothing more substantial than scare-mongering. There is no acknowledgement of the vast store of knowledge based on centuries of world-wide traditional use of herbal medicines, nor the specialist wisdom of today’s practising herbalists, gained from years of successful clinical experience backed by sound research methods. Even less credence is given to the vast homoeopathic pharmacopoeia and repertories compiled over the last two and a half centuries by homoeopaths dedicated to researching and reporting the effects of their medicines.
Yes, the natural health product industry is big business and some brands on the market are unreliable, however it’s wildly inaccurate to slam “95%” of therapies and products as implausible. Let’s look at four natural therapies that were specifically called a “waste of time and money” by doctors: colloidal silver, deer velvet, arnica and rescue remedy.
Research studies on colloidal silver treatment has shown it effectively and quickly kills staph, E. coli, herpes simplex, rhinovirus, candida albicans, urinary tract infections, infections of the eyes, nose and mouth, upper respiratory tract infections and even the dangerous MRSA virus. While further clinical studies would be welcome, there are already good indications for colloidal silver’s safe application. Amongst widespread public use, no adverse effects or contraindications have been documented.
Deer velvet is high in nutrients and its tonic properties have been valued in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2000 years. Studies have shown improvement in mental and physical performance, immune response, joint function and retention of bone mass. These results were not due to the placebo effect, as one doctor claimed.
Arnica 30C homoeopathic remedy is a well-established first aid treatment for any type of physical trauma. Medical warnings that it may stimulate post-surgical bleeding are baseless, and somewhat at odds with the mainstream medical view that homoeopathic preparations have no proven effect. It is both potent and safe. I’ve witnessed many apparent ‘miracles’ with Arnica 30C use, because it’s effect can be immediate. It reduces bruising and speeds up wound healing, and is especially useful for shock.
Rescue remedy is the combination of five flower essences discovered by Dr Edward Bach in the 1930’s. Together these essences work on a vibrational level to clear shock, panic, dissociation, irritation and desperation – making it well indicated in any emergency or trauma situation. Flower essence work is one of my specialties and in 23 years in clinical practice I have treated countless clients with rescue remedy and other essences. All flower essences can be given repeatedly as needed without any harmful effects, making Rescue remedy a valuable first aid option for all, including children and animals.
One concern in the article was that “people were paying big money for products and therapies that did nothing.” Medical training gives no insight into how vibrational remedies such as homoeopathics and flower essences work, so it’s understandable that most (not all) doctors are reluctant to see value in them. By restricting their knowledge to a fixed set of conventional scientific paradigms they are missing the big picture, the one where science (at the quantum physics level) and nature harmonise.
Besides ignoring the wisdom of natural health practitioners, the doctors show little respect for the public of New Zealand. In this country we have a very educated and well-informed population of health consumers. People take an intelligent interest in their health and are increasingly aware they need to look beyond the public ‘health’ system to achieve and maintain wellness in the holistic sense. For this they turn to practitioners and therapists who offer an expanded worldview, one in which quality healthcare involves in-depth case-taking and a personalised treatment plan. There is no one-size-fits-all quick fix in natural therapies, rather the focus is on treating the underlying cause of ill health in each individual case.
Modern medical practice lacks the tools to improve health outcomes across many diseases that reduce quality of life for a growing sector of the population. Because it is reductionist in approach and applies heavy-handed interventions, a ‘cure’ in allopathic terms may not achieve anything close to our idea of ‘health’. In fact many medical interventions are the cause of our burgeoning ill health statistics because they ultimately do more harm than good. A particular problem is the long term prescribing of multiple drugs in combination, whose interactions haven’t been researched.
For anyone practising any style of medicine, surely the governing rule of practice should be‘first do no harm’. It’s time we pooled our collective resources to provide an integrated approach to lifespan health. In a holistic health model the focus is on healing as a dynamic, integrative process involving more than just the physical symptoms currently presenting. Bringing the emotional, mental and spiritual levels into balance is essential for healthy functioning and enjoyment of life. Medical tests can contribute valuable information and in emergency situations or degenerative stages of disease, surgery or drug therapy is often a necessary medical intervention. Natural therapies provide the nourishing, supportive and preventative strategies to reduce the need for late-stage medical solutions.
Let’s join in a genuine spirit of enquiry to bring the advances in scientific research together with nature’s medicines and holistic therapies and we will have a truly integrated system for supporting good health throughout life.
By Carolyn Simon ND, DipMedHerb