The basic premise behind natural health (as I see it) is to restore balance and health to the body. If you can restore health to the body by changing the diet and taking nutritional supplements, it stands to reason that some of your dietary choices must have something to do with being unhealthy.
The “natural” perspective tends to view the body as a whole and tries to understand what the body is trying to communicate through the symptoms it presents. Is the symptom relating a deficiency? Some of the simpler deficiency signs are: white spots on the nails are a sign of zinc deficiency; numbness in the extremities, tense head, neck and shoulders and sometimes ringing in the left ear are signs of vitamin B12 deficiency; problems with night vision tend to be vitamin A deficiency.
Or is the symptom related to a ‘condition’ such as a liver or gall bladder problem. Symptoms like this can be varied and sometimes are easy to relate, but not always. For example, symptoms that point to liver or gall bladder problems include pain in the area of the liver or gallbladder, burning feet, dry itchy skin, blurred vision, metallic taste in mouth, pain in the big toe or ball of the foot, and dark circles under the eye.
There are many signs and symptoms, but the real success of natural health comes when you can go beyond the signs of the deficiency or condition and find the reason or reasons it is there. Is it diet? More than likely it is. However some of the more insidious problems relate to exposure to environmental toxins or to heavy metal toxicity from metal dental fillings. Many natural practitioners are having success with degenerative neurological conditions by addressing heavy metal toxicity, particularly lead and mercury. With chronic health problems, it is rarely just one issue.
There are several steps involved when taking a natural health approach to almost any condition. First and foremost, change your diet. However you do that, make sure it is low in sugar and refined grains. There are many good choices. The Paleo Diet is currently popular - and it works. Blood Type diets will work too, as will something like South Beach, or my old standby - Fat Flush.
Add in basic, high-quality nutrients such as a multi-vitamin, an omega 3 oil, a digestive enzyme and a green supplement.
You will also need to restore mineral balance. The right minerals will make almost any condition better. Be sure to include trace minerals. Then restore digestive health. Proper digestion is essential for assimilation of nutrients that make us healthy. What your digestive system needs depends on you, but a digestive enzyme plus a probiotic and the right diet will go a long way towards getting this system in balance.
The next steps vary based on the condition. For example, with toxicity the next step would be to remove the toxin; with hormonal problems, the next step would be to strengthen the glands that produce the hormones; etc.
If you truly want to be healthier, a natural approach may work for you.
Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.