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Just What Is Natural Health?

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2007 | Health

In the West, we like to think of our world as modern and of our medical system as sophisticated. Yet, with the wide array of illnesses, diseases and disorders that continue to escalate in scope and number, it might be time to explore another way of evaluating and maintaining health. Many people are doing just that, exploring the realm of natural health.

The basic premise of natural health is that when the body is nourished and maintained optimally, it is able to heal itself naturally. Better yet, it can prevent the occurrence of disease in the first place. In other words, we wouldn't need the interventions of our medical system in many cases after all. Instead, we can create the environment and conditions that allow the body to heal itself in which optimum health can be assured.

A healthy lifestyle is the cornerstone to natural health. Prevention is the foundation. Natural health is not about being a health fanatic, but more a health conscious person. This means holistic health, encompassing the whole person, body, mind and spirit.

Natural health practitioners believe that prevention is each individual person's choice, and that each is capable of taking active responsibility for their own personal health and well being. The healthy lifestyle that is encouraged involves eating fresh whole foods, taking nutritional supplements as needed, ensuring regular physical exercise, and managing the sources and levels of stress in the environment.

Despite the best intentions and prevention, disorders of the body might develop. When concerns do arise, natural health treatment can include everything from vitamins and supplements, to massage therapy, to homeopathy, to acupuncture, to other forms of energy work. By definition, natural healing methods address the whole person; they are holistic, rather than focusing on a specific disease or body part that is affected.

While the natural health approach is to prevent the occurrence of serious infectious diseases or any medical emergencies, it never condones treating these apart from traditional medical intervention. There is nothing that prevents natural healing methods from being used side by side with conventional medical treatment. In many cases it can support the effectiveness of the medical treatment by building the immune system and bolstering health in other body systems.

While there have been efforts to pass legislation that requires a prescription for dispensing vitamins and supplements, none have yet been passed - at least not at the national level - in the US. There are laws and regulations that govern the "practice of medicine" that natural health practitioners cannot violate. But, by and large, natural health is still an unregulated field. This lack of regulation can be good and bad. Ultimately, some middle ground will be reached overseeing safe practices while ensuring choices in health care.

With its focus on prevention, natural health is the lifestyle choice among millions of people today who choose to take responsibility for their own well being. It emphasizes a holistic approach to health and healing, creating the optimal environment for the body to thrive, and employs natural strategies when imbalance does occur. The interest in and pursuit of natural health is more in demand today than ever before.