If you are reading this, you have decided to learn more about how to heal yourself via natural methods. In this short article we will explore what healing is from a holistic perspective. We will explore the role of the practitioner, the role of the patient, and the role of nature in the healing process. Our culture is dominated by a paradigm which often puts the cause of our suffering on the exterior. At the heart of natural medicine, however, the causes of health and illness are seen through a different paradigm. Please read this with an open mind as some of the information may be new and even contrary to the current popular medical paradigm. We are not asking you to disregard anything you have already learned or already believe but we are asking that you set aside your current understanding momentarily so you can receive the most from the following view of health.
We will define healing as the process by which an individual or group cultivates the ability to face the events of their life in such a way that growth is always the result. Notice we did not say healing was about fixing symptoms, or getting a doctor to take away our pain. Healing with natural methods means we are attempting to embrace the wisdom in the painful parts of our life as well as the joyful parts. Often times, using natural methods to heal results in symptoms going away but the domain of the natural medicine is much broader than this. When western medicine says ‘there is nothing we can do for you and this disease’, the story is over. Often natural methods can help when western methods cannot but, when natural and western approaches both fail to resolve a particular set of symptoms, natural medicine still has a lot to offer. Natural methods can also help us live with any circumstances which cannot be altered. We can live a life of vibrancy even if we have pain. We can derive much benefit from of our illnesses when we view them as a teacher rather than as an enemy.
We heal from the ‘inside out’. This means that the deeper issues causing the symptoms will often heal first rather than a particular symptom we want fixed. For example, let’s say over many years of my life I am subjected to situations which cause me great fear. Overtime, this fear begins to express itself physically as low back pain. I go to many doctors and no one can help me. Then I go to a natural medicine practitioner who understands how nature heals. I go in for my back pain but with treatment I realize that what is healing first is this old experience of fear. First the fear is addressed, then the back pain begins to go away. Sometimes both the deeper cause and the physical result heal at the same time, and sometimes not. Remember, healing with natural methods is not a silver bullet fix-it-all-now kind of approach. It is something which asks us to make changes in our lives, live differently, and heal from within. This does not mean that healing is always slow. I have seen many patients come in with severe physical pain and leave after an hour session with a huge reduction or elimination of pain. But we are trying to create a different context within which we are interacting with the healing process rather than looking to someone else to fix us.
It is only western medicine which separates the mental/emotional from the physical. There are no other forms of medicine, to my knowledge, which does this. All other forms of medicine understand that the mind and body cannot be separated. Either a physical symptom has a mental/emotional cause or a physical injury has mental/emotional components which must be addressed for full healing to occur.
Lastly, the patient is the one responsible for their own healing. The practitioner may be a guide or an assistant or a facilitator. But it is the patient who must go through the healing process themselves. It is the patient who needs to face and let go of what is blocking them from moving forward. It is the patient who must find their own strength to heal. We are so used to a doctor telling us what to do and what is wrong with us. I encourage you to remember that these doctors are people just like you. They know what they know and there are things which they cannot know due to the natural limitations of any model. You are the one who is in control of your health. You are the one who ultimately knows best what to do. Yes you may need many outside educated opinions to help you consider a full picture as to how you would like to heal yourself. But ultimately it is your life and your journey to health.