Principles of Naturopathic Medicine: Prevention

In discussing the six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine, no specific order or hierarchy marks them; but we’ll start with Prevention, because prevention is always a good place to start.

Preventare, or Prevention, asks: What can we do and how can we prevent illness, especially chronic illness, from occurring? I might stretch this a little bit and say that sometimes illness is not preventable; but we can prepare the body in the best ways possible in order to deal with the illness and return to health and vitality quickly.

It seems common, even accepted, for many people to get sick over the winter months. If we have taken measures in advance to be sure we are in the best internal health possible, we are better able to combat or recover from illness.

How do we flesh out what Prevention means? It means work. Work on the part of you, to do what you can do, to have the best internal conditions possible. Dr. Henry Lindlahr would call the internal body “soil”. When we have good soil or internal conditions, good things happen. When we have bad soil or poor internal conditions, the body is more susceptible to illness, chronic conditions and slower healing. The farmer cannot just go out into the fields once or twice a year and expect a good crop. He has to go out daily and weekly to see what the soil is like and how best to make changes to support the soil. We have to do the same with our bodies.

We create good soil through good diet. What we eat impacts how we feel and also how our bodies function. The holidays are a great time to indulge a bit, but we cannot do this regularly. Certain types of food are better for one person than another. Understanding and learning what best suits your body gives better nutrients to the soil. Regularly using digestive bitters can be helpful.

We create good “soil” through moving. We do not have to spend money on a gym; a simple walk will do wonders--but we need to move. Movement lubricates the muscles and joints. It helps to push cellular waste out and bring nutrients and oxygen into the tissues. It does not need to be strenuous, but it cannot just be getting up from the couch to put new batteries in the TV remote, either. It is tilling the soil and mixing the soil with added nutrients.

Water. Do you drink enough water? Seems like weeds are the only things that grow well without sufficient water. Water is important to hydrate the tissue and skin. Dehydration can lead to digestive problems, headaches, and overall poor functioning.

Prevention is looking at taking care of the body before something happens; to help in preventing an illness from occurring and having the best conditions to get over illness more quickly.