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Which of the following health conditions is not directly benefited by breathing exercises?
High blood pressure

 Naturopathic Medicine: Multiple Sclerosis and Alternative Medicine 

By example; a 23 year old female who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She became aggravated by heat, had considerable difficulty focusing her eyes and experienced considerable daily fatigue. Each of the general symptoms were elicited so that the medication could be individualized. It became clear taking her history, that the condition had come on following the death of a close friend for whom she had never been able to experience grief. This was considered significant as many illnesses often follow periods of unexpressed emotions. (Swank and his colleagues made the same observation during their 35 year study.) She was given the homeopathic medicine Natrum muriaticum and within 3 weeks reported feeling more energy and a better ability to focus her eyes. Within 6 months of treatment her previous level of health had been restored and 5 years later she is symptom free.

Most naturopathic physicians are highly trained in the use of homeopathic medicine but as mentioned earlier, so are a number of other physicians. In my opinion, homeopathy is also a cornerstone of treatment for multiple sclerosis along with diet. I have seen the greatest success with these 2 therapies.

Herbal Medicine:
Naturopathic physicians have been trained in the art and science of prescribing medications derived from plant sources. The majority of prescription drugs are derived as well from plants but are often altered and used as single constituents. What makes herbal medicine unique is that plants have evolved along with human beings and have been used as non toxic medications for centuries.

If there is any problem with herbal medicines it is that unless one knows how to prescribe them, they may not be effective. Herbal medications should be prescribed based on the symptoms that the person presents rather than for the name of the disease. Herbal medications are much more effective at relieving the patients symptoms when prescribed in this manner. When prescribed the medicines act with the body's own innate healing mechanism to restore balance and ultimately allows healing to occur.

What's nice about plant or herbal medicines is that because they are derived from the whole plant they are considerably less toxic to the body. The plant medicine has evolved to work in harmony with the normal body processes rather than taking over its function as many drug therapies do. Because of this herbal medicines may be taken for longer periods of time without the side effects so often experienced with drugs.

Hydrotherapy was very popular around the turn of the century until the mid 1950's, then began a slow decline. Its decline came about not because it was an ineffective therapy, but because it could not compete with the new "miracle drugs". It continues to be part of naturopathic therapy because it works so well, has few, if any side effects, and can be done at home by the patient, making it very cost effective.

Hydrotherapy works because it does several things needed by the MS patient. First, it increases oxygenation in the blood. Because of the higher fat content of the blood in these patients, less oxygen is delivered to the tissues. This is due to a slowing down or stagnation of the circulation which is especially important in the midbrain, spinal cord and cerebellum where most of the lesions of MS develop. These areas require a continued, unimpeded flow of blood to function optimally. Secondly, hydrotherapy increases the white blood cell count which is needed for healing to occur. Thirdly, the process of using hot and cold applications promotes repair of tissue damaged by the disease, thus helping to reverse the damage to the delicate tissues. Lastly, hydrotherapy increases the rate of cellular metabolism causing it to function optimally.

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 About The Author
Thomas A. Kruzel N.D. is a Naturopathic Physician in private practice in Portland, Oregon with an emphasis on family practice, geriatric medicine and diseases of the urogenital tract. He is an Associate Professor of......more
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