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 Integrative Medicine: Naturopathy 
 

Opren, and the widespread use of other anti-inflammatory drugs, resulted in most people who used them for any length of time actually having worse arthritis in later years than did those people who had no treatment at all (not to mention digestive systems which had been well and truly damaged). Why should this be?
Because as with a fever, inflammation is part of the self-repair mechanism on which our health depends.

If the reasons for the inflammation can be dealt with the condition improves spontaneously. Even if it can't fully resolve itself the inflammatory process leads ultimately to a degree of self-healing which is superior to what happens if inflammation is chronically suppressed.

Naturopathic approaches to both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis have now been vindicated by recent studies in Norway (published in the Lancet 12 October 1991) which show that fasting and a vegetarian based diet have a major impact on the levels of pain, stiffness and disability in people with arthritis.

This together with the 'new' medical findings that meat, citrus fruits and certain other foods are harmful in arthritis has been known by naturopaths for 100 years or more and yet the medical studies which prove the value are only just being recognised.

Modification of diet together with some basic naturopathic therapies (focusing on both mind and physical structures) offers the safest and most effective approach to arthritis, because causes are being dealt with and not just symptoms.

Working With the Body
Naturopathy encourages the self-healing potential by a combination of the removal of obstacles to its efficient working alongside active involvement/treatment which assists it through one form of therapy or another.

Holistic Thinking Started with Naturopathy
The idea of looking at the person with a health problem, at the overall condition of health or ill-health, in the context of the person's lifestyle, dietary pattern, stress levels, attitudes and beliefs, habits, relationships, environment and social background, is essentially naturopathic and is the foundation thinking which has now been adopted by doctors who believe in holistic principles.

Individuality
The study of emotional (psychological), structural and biochemical (diet, toxicity, deficiency) factors as they interact with the unique individuality (biochemical, structural, emotional and genetic) of each of us, to create a formula for health or ill-health, is the naturopathic way of understanding the complex influences affecting everyone, and has its roots in classical Greek medicine as practised by Hippocrates.

This way of looking at health and disease is essential to unravelling the causes and therefore the solutions to health problem according to naturopaths, since it relates all those attributes which we inherit from our parents to all that has happened (and is happening) to us in life, up to this point in time, to our current health status.

However naturopathy is far more than this logical, rounded, way of understanding the human condition as it relates to health and disease, it is also a revolutionary way of approaching the treatment and indeed the prevention of illhealth.

Disease is seen as an imbalance in the harmony of body/mind function which, by attention to predisposing features, most ill-health can be prevented and much removed once it exists.

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 About The Author
Leon Chaitow ND, DO, MROA practicing naturopath, osteopath, and acupuncturist in the United Kingdom, with over forty years clinical experience, Chaitow is Editor-in-Chief, of the ...more
 
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