Optimize Metabolic Function
All the metabolic processes of the body are run by enzyme systems that are determined by our genes. Enzymes require micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to function. Maldigestion, malnutrition, and weak enzymes all contribute to the other imbalances and directly cause many chronic diseases. Maldigestion can manifest as bad breath, foul-smelling stools, diarrhea, constipation, and food intolerance. Common metabolic diseases include asthma, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and eczema. Enzyme and herbal aids can improve digestion, and high dosages of specific nutrients will improve the function of enzymes that are weak due to genetics. These treatments are discussed extensively in Chapter Seven.
Balance Your Regulatory Systems
Our hormonal systems maintain a delicate metabolic balance throughout the body. Both under- and over-activity of any of the hormonal systems cause widespread dysfunction. Hypothyroidism, hypogonadism, and hypoadrenalism manifest as chronic tiredness, obesity, loss of sex drive, excessive muscle wasting, and so on. Even a normal process such as menopause can cause unpleasant symptoms. Special foods, nutrients, herbs, and hormone precursors can be used to reestablish balance, which is the topic of Chapter Eight.
Almost from birth, our bodies are replacing cells and tissues as they wear out. However, when damage is excessive, or the normal repair and regeneration processes are impaired, degeneration results. Imbalance between "wear and tear" and the ability of the body to repair and regenerate manifests in such diseases as receding gums, osteoarthritis, chronic fatigue, depression, and premature aging. Anti-aging nutrients, improving blood supply to the heart and brain, and herbal regenerators all help slow, and in some cases, reverse the aging process. In addition, some herbs (called adaptogens), through mechanisms we do not yet understand, appear to strengthen virtually all of our functions and increase our ability to maintain health through stress and environmental challenges. Chapter Nine explains in detail how to enhance regeneration.
Live in Harmony with Your Life-Force
Our beliefs, spiritual values, and family life have a profound impact on our health. Our society has trained us to suppress many mind/body signals. Emotional imbalances, stress, unhealthy beliefs, lack of meaning in life, and dysfunctional family life fundamentally impair our body's healing mechanisms, significantly decrease the quality of our life and the lives of our loved ones, and contribute to chronic disease. Each of us needs to become more aware of the activity of the vis medicatrix naturae (life-force) deep within us. There are many aids to developing this awareness. Chapter Ten reviews those with the strongest historic and research support, a surprising amount of which documents the powerful impact of prayer, meditation, beliefs, and family and friends on health.
Each of us is our own best physician, we just need to learn how. By understanding how our own body works and how to listen to our symptoms, we can fundamentally improve our health. When disease does occur, we can use self help and natural therapies to reestablish our health. By taking personal control over our own health, we can utilize licensed health care practitioners as resources rather than giving them complete control over our bodies.