The Alternative Cure Advantage.
Alternative medicine believes that natural health is a consequence of a variety of different
sources coming together. Thus it chooses the best from various options available, in order
to provide good health. It does so by building the strong points, preventing the weak ones,
and generally dictating a lifestyle that is naturally healthy. Alternative medicine branches
that promote natural good health include herbalism, natural hygiene, naturotherapy, and nutripathy.
Nowadays it has become common to provide these, as complementary therapies to conventional
methods of treatment. Terms like alternative medicine and natural health always seem to
get associated with the Far East. It should be noted that most of the core concepts behind
natural health are of European origin. In the old age the only health care that was
available to the common man was self care. While medical science existed in a very rudimentary
state, it was by no means as prolific as it is today. Most of the “doctors” in that
era were referred to as “folk healers” (people who heal other people) and their medical
qualification was nothing more than a short apprenticeship under some sort of superior.
At the time of the Revolutionary War, practicing the art of medicinal healing was looked upon
as a diversion, something to dabble in when you had time to spare. It was supposed to
be something that an individual did when not doing a regular job. Folk remedies were handed
down from one generation to the next. Men and women who had learned these remedies simply
applied them to everyday life like their predecessors. In this way, matters like childbirth, injuries,
and illness were taken care of. Geographical distance and biological diversity
naturally made these folk remedies different in different places. So, while the roots of
such healing can be traced to Europe, once they had been adapted to the Americas, they
were not so readily recognizable. In 1830, Frances Wright and other reformers and activists
started the Popular Health Movement. This was a period when advances in medical science
were forcing contemporary doctors to think in terms that would have been sacrilegious
to their elders. Frustrated by these new developments, proponents of the Popular Health Movement
sought to enforce the usage of older methods into the practice of modern medical professionals.
While some good has resulted (in the long run and with the help of understanding provided
by modern research), it has to be admitted that the Popular Health Movement also caused
some medical blunders. Some natural health concepts that arose as
a result of the Popular Health Movement are: Hydrotherapy, Herbalism, Eclectic Medicine,
and Natural Hygiene. Thomsonianism is one of the earliest approaches
to modern western herbalism and it was founded by Samuel Thompson around the year 1820. The
Association of Eclectic Physicians, an organization of herbals doctors, was found in Wooster Beech. At its very height, eclecticism was practiced
by over twenty thousand qualified doctors in the United States. By 1939, medical schools
were being largely influenced by philanthropists, and when these schools failed to support eclecticism,
it slowly died out. Hydrotherapy was another branch of natural health and it concerned
itself with the application of water to the human body. Though using only water as means
of staying healthy might sound a bit silly, for that time period it was a good thing.
Hydrotherapy advocates were very vocal about the importance of personal habits such as
diet, dress, clean water, fresh air, exercise, sunshine, and herbs. Personal hygiene as it
is followed today was not always such an important issue. Hydrotherapy was conveying a very important
message. Origins of hydrotherapy can be traced back to Europe in the Roman era when spas
and hot mineral springs were a common way for people to cleanse their bodies. The European
system of hydrotherapy was first introduced to the United States in 1844 by the founder
of Natural Hygiene, Dr. Joel Shew. Dr. Shew later on enhanced hydrotherapy by focusing
on its other aspects like fresh air, lots of sunshine, a good diet plan, and an exercise
routine. In 1853 he established the college of Hygieo Therapy.
The American Natural Hygiene Society was founded in
1948. Eventually, hydrotherapy had to give way to allopathy. This was largely brought
about by the fact that the people supporting allopathy viewed hydrotherapy as a science
of quacks because hydrotherapy was so closely associated with the female social activists
of that era. The core belief of natural health therapy
is that all issues related to health, sickness, and healing can be overcome through simple
means like prevention and a change in individual lifestyle. Natural health follows the oldest
rule of medicine: prevention is better than cure. In view of this, natural health therapies
are supposed to be totally in control of the individual and not the doctor or healer. The
“natural” in the term natural health literally refers to the physical world in which we live,
or nature. This is but another way of saying that according to natural health therapy all
disease and illness is nothing more than a natural reaction to some other natural action.
It is important to remember that natural health does not have anything to do with faith or
psychic healing which are supernatural concepts and hence, By definition, not part of nature.
This difference is also the biggest distinguishing factor between natural health therapies of
European origin and Eastern alternative medicinal theories that often rely on belief systems
such as spirituality, karma, ancestral forces, personal auras, or energy flows. None of these
can be perceived by our normal senses and hence the Europe-born natural health theories
do not subscribe to them. Going even further, natural health does not concern itself with
the origin of life, any religious beliefs, extra-dimensional worlds, magic, and new age
mysticism. All natural health says is that all health and sickness can be affected by
simple natural therapies. At its most basic level it can be said that
natural health therapy refers to only one thing: biological factors of health, especially
as they apply to everyday life in western society. In its early history, the natural
health movement did show considerable interest in hydrotherapy and the relaxation it offered
through the usage of spas, steam baths, and other water cures. The more modern additions
to natural health that concern themselves with the body- mind connection and how that
relates to stress and tension are influenced by eastern alternative medical theories.
Having said that, what natural health therapy finally implies is that the human body has
complete capacity to heal itself from most forms of sickness (of course, a broken bone
cannot be fixed by altering your lifestyle, it needs to be put in a cast), mostly through
prevention. So as far as natural health thinking goes, all healing is basically self-healing
and this is considered to be a basic property of all things alive. Vitalism.
It is to be observed that as early 400 B.C., Hippocrates (who is considered to be the father
of medicine) had written that, “the natural healing force within us is the greatest force
in getting well”. This is known as vitalism, also known as ‘vis
medicatrix naturae’ (the inherent wisdom of the body). To put it simply, whenever there
is something wrong with the body the doctor will attempt something, for example: using
antibiotics to kill the infection, perform surgery to remove a poisoned part or for amputation,
put a broken bone into a cast, suture a flesh wound. All of these are part of the healing
trade. The catch is that the body of patient has to actively respond to all this treatment
otherwise it is wasted. Vitalism makes the body want to heal and get well. This is a
well documented fact that people who deal with their physical problems confidently and
cheerfully heal faster than others. The precise reason as to why this happens is not understood
but the fact is still undeniable. Holism.
One explanation comes from the concept of Holism which says that the process of healing
is a combined effort by the entire organism and cannot be achieved by any isolated part
of that organism. The Holism concept can be traced to the time
of Paracelsus, 1439- 1541, who is credited with being the father of modern medicine.
When Paracelsus treated patients he refused to pay attention to only that part which was
showing symptoms of disease. Instead, he tried to treat the whole body as one whole entity. Holism is not a symptom=cure sort of healing
technique. It involves a careful study of the defensive abilities of each individual
patient’s body. Practitioners have to have the knowledge to differentiate between disease
symptoms and the defensive or recovery systems. What Holism believes is that when someone
falls sick, their whole body has undergone some kind of weakness and has lost the balance
of its strength. So the solution is to simply restore the strength of the body.
All western natural health therapies rely on biological factors and the better developed
psychosocial approaches are a modern addition. Individualism.
This concept is different in the sense that it places all responsibility for sickness
and good health on every individual in a society. So everyone is responsible for their personal
health. Individualism results from an awareness of
the importance of individuals in a community and the resulting virtues of self-reliance
and personal independence. Well-rounded individuals are both self-reliant and independent.
Victim-blaming. What this means is that if someone gets sick
then the victim of the sickness did something wrong. While it might sound a little weird
what it honestly means is that personal health is a personal responsibility and no one can
blame someone or something else for his or her illness. It focuses on the self. Improve
yourself because the environment around you is too big to change for one individual. In
other words, health problems should be self corrected and the obvious solution is a change
in the victim’s lifestyle. Prevention.
This is probably the most difficult concept for the modern day individual to grasp. Though
everyone is aware of the phrase ‘prevention is better than cure’ there are few people
who actually go the extent of preventing even the most obvious trouble (think about smoking,
alcohol, high cholesterol foods, sugar, etc.). Prevention does not merely suggest that troublesome
activities should be avoided. What is says is that improving health is better than fighting
disease. It suggests the application of this to short term as well as long term negative
effects. In the short term, a healthy body can easily ward off minor illnesses (like
common cold) and injuries (razor cuts, skin peeling during sports activities for instance).
In the long term prevention suggests caution in all that is done today so that it does
not result in adverse outcomes in the future. In other words, it too suggests a change in
lifestyle for a healthier tomorrow. Reasonably good health can be achieved by
everyone. What is even better that the means to do so do not have to acquired from anyone,
the capacity to do so lies within us. If you are interested in more information, we recommend
you visit our website, where you can find a series of ebooks that you can download for
free. You just have to click on the link in the description.