By Alex Strande, N.D. Ph.D.
There are more drugs dispensed for pain than for any other disease on this planet. Drug companies enjoy earning huge profits from people suffering with chronic pain. Pain management clinics flourish throughout the world. Most conventional medication prescribed for pain addresses a temporary symptom removal (if you are lucky) rather than curing the cause of the pain. There are many “pain management” drugs and techniques. Most of these will dry up your savings and at the end of the day you will still suffer from pain.
This is not the worst part, but rather how your liver, kidneys and other organs eventually become poisoned by long-term use of synthetic drugs that is the most devastating to your health. Pain drugs are also addictive which will eventually cause other diseases. Useless pain management techniques, whether they involve poisonous drugs, pulsating your body parts with low voltage, rubbing your skin or using other inventions, only postpone the agony while the disease behind it will continue thriving.
Many smart philosophers mention that the best way to keep young and healthy is to put food in your mouth that is healing: e.g. treat your food as your medicine and your medicine as your food. People following this simple prescription live to be well into their nineties or even hundreds and they feel thirty to fifty years younger than they really are. Cultures that follow this principle have some of the healthiest seniors around.
In Western countries, most seniors are heavily medicated, poisoned and living with debilitating pain and misery. This is usually due to poor diet, lack of exercise and ignoring the impact of stress on your long-term physical and mental health. We are so used to simply taking a pill for a quick fix that we don’t consider long-term consequences.
It’s not unusual to see people over fifty taking five or six different medications for various ailments including ones they may not really have. Drugging the patient is a very effective way to stop someone from complaining in spite of the fact the disease process will continue and you will eventually need more drugs to mask the symptoms of the original medications.
From a naturopathic point of view, pain is an obstruction of the flow of lymph, blood, nutrients or oxygen, to the affected area. Circulation to the area in question is being diminished as the organ becomes underactive or degenerated and pain develops. From a holistic point of view, to heal the pain you have to fix the underlying problem. How do you do this? Do you take poisonous drugs? Obviously not! You use the healing plants created by God intended for man’s use. When you know what you are doing, you can combine healing plants to utilize their therapeutic activity so that they become natural, healing medicines. Such medicines work with you not against you. They don’t poison like drugs — they heal.
The concept that links naturopathic treatment framework to the choice of herbs is the ACTION. Categorization of a herb under its action can be the result of scientific result as well as tradition. The process that links treatment framework to choice of herbs is as follows:
1) Decide upon the treatment framework. This can be along naturopathic guidelines or a medical understanding of the causes of the disorder, or a combination of both with appropriate inclusion of specific holistic and symptomatic herbs.
2) The framework should be individualized to the situation and requirements of a case.
3) On the basis of this individualized treatment framework, decide what actions are required.
4) Choose reliable herbs, which have these actions with as much overlap as feasible and emphasizing particular action as appropriate.
5) Combine herbs in a formula with appropriate THERAPUETIC doses.
Here are examples of a few herbs that have been traditionally used in diseases with pain: Corydalis, Humulus, Salix, Gelsemium, Pulsatilla, Eschoscholtsia, Psicidia, Dioscorea, Aesculus, Harpago-phytum, Zingiber, Curcuma, Tan-acetum, Guaiacum, Salix, Cimi-cifuga, Rehmannia, Centella, just to mention a few.
After over twenty years of exposure in medicine, I am still amazed that some patients come to me loaded with toxic drugs and they have never questioned the doctor who prescribed them about the potential side effects. But it is not unusual for me to receive a question like “…is chamomile or calcium dangerous because my doctor told me to be careful?” Of course your doctor could be an advocate for various drug companies and their latest marketing efforts and may not promote something you can grow in your garden, which is harmless.
According to JAMA, since 1999 there were more Americans seeking natural medical services and taking supplements than those who went to conventional medical doctors. This proves Americans are ready for a healthier change and they understand that pain does not need to be “relieved,” it can actually be healed.
Pain can be physical or emotional. Many cases of physical pain may be either induced or maintained by emotional pain. It is no secret that very stressed individuals get sick more often than people who better manage their stress. Most degenerative diseases with pain that I see in my clinical practice derive from low-grade or long-standing anxiety, depression, and mental or physical trauma. The best examples are autoimmune diseases and cancers.
The traditional American “junk food” diet is also contributing to a negative state of body and mind. For example, most sugar, alcohol, or caffeine addicts have no clue why they don’t feel well and why they are in pain. Sugar degenerates your immune system, glands, nerve system, and bones. Caffeine increases your anxieties, leaches calcium from your bones enhancing osteoporosis, and increases blood pressure. Alcohol destroys your central nerve system, organs, narrows your arteries and is a depressant. Addiction can be described as a form of masking emotional pain. To eradicate physical pain, it is important to address emotional pain as well. Treating the whole person is the key to complete healing of emotional and physical pain.
Alex Strande, ND, Ph.D. is a naturopath and microbiologist with offices in Irvine, California. He can be contacted for questions and appointments at (949) 553-1882 or check out his website at www.simplyhealingclinic.com
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