The ingredients for a healthy life
The recent pandemic has made us all aware of the many ways we can become ill, and realise that in order not to, we need to keep our body, and all of its components, strong and healthy. It has made me think about how can I best explain this issue to my patients and loved ones, without it becoming a book-long treaty.
In homeopathy we speak about the vital force, the intelligent energy in us that keeps us alive and in a state of homeostasis – healthy equilibrium. A strong vital force helps to produce a good and effective immune response when our body is affected by an infection of any kind (virus, bacteria, fungi, etc), and also when the infection is on an emotional level (betrayal, grief, loss of any kind). A weak vital force does not manage to address the threat effectively, which can then weaken it even further into what can become a chronic condition.
To have a strong vital force we need to address which are the pillars of a healthy life:
- a wholesome and varied diet,
- plenty of movement,
- sunshine – direct or indirect, the important thing is to be exposed to natural light,
- healthy and nourishing relationships.
Our diet should be unprocessed, organic, and as colourful as possible, allowing the body to absorb all the vitamins and minerals we need for optimal functioning. We also need animal products as the richest source of protein, and to get enough B vitamins (important to nourish the nervous system, play a part in cell metabolism and energy levels. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamins/vitamin-b/). Fruits and vegetables offer Vitamin C, A, Folate, Fibre and potassium, (https://archive.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/healthydiet/fruit-and-vegetables.html). Healthy fats are also essential, as they help us absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and they’re a source of essential fatty acids that the body can’t make itself ( https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthy-sustainable-diets/fat/?level=Consumer). This type of diet will also provide enough prebiotics (in the form of insoluble fibre) to keep our microbiome (the good bacteria that live in our gut) happy and thriving. This in turn will help towards a balanced mind, which will also affect our overall wellbeing. An interesting book to read regarding nutrition and mental health is Own Your Self, by Kelly Brogan, MD.
Movement is vital to a person’s wellbeing. It enhances bodily functions (from circulartion §to digestion, and everything around it) and it is widely proven that exercise such as jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, and also gardening and dancing, helps reduce anxiety and depression (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/).
Sunlight is essential for human health and well-being. The health benefits of sunlight include generating the production of vitamin D, supporting bone health, lowering blood pressure, preventing disease, and promoting good mental health. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2290997/).
Sleep is as important for good health as diet and exercise. Good sleep improves your brain performance, mood, and health. Not getting enough quality sleep regularly raises the risk of many diseases and disorders. These range from heart disease and stroke to obesity and dementia. (https://sph.umich.edu/pursuit/2020posts/why-sleep-is-so-important-to-your-health.html).
Finally, what feeds our emotional world, is as important as the previous aspects. Having fulfilling connections to other people, in friends, family and colleagues, and of course romantic partners, makes up a huge part of our wellbeing, as there are proven links showing these promote lower rates of anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, greater empathy, and more trusting and cooperative relationships. Strong, healthy relationships can also help to strengthen your immune system, help you recover from disease, and may even lengthen your life. (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/relationships-21st-century-forgotten-foundation-mental-health-and-wellbeing).
Homeopathy and strong immunity
All of these ingredients help make us the individuals we are. When one of these areas suffers, that’s when our susceptibilities come to the fore, making us aware of where we need to put our attention, in order to preserve our health. And we might be doing everything right, addressing all the underlying issues, and yet we keep getting the recurring tonsillitis every time the weather changes, or migraines that plague us every two weeks, or 28 days, or any other issue. That’s where homeopathic constitutional treatment helps stimulate the body back into homeostasis – by gently stimulating the body’s own immune response.
The difference between acute and constitutional treatment lies in the fact that acute treatment addresses just the presenting physical symptoms (as in flu or diarrhoea, etc). In constitutional treatment you aim to address longstanding symptoms that are the result of different causes (lifestyle, emotional, hereditary etc). Acute homeopathic treatment helps support the body through acute illness without preventing it from its natural processes (such as fever, inflammation, etc), and in this way stimulate the vital force to produce the immune response necessary to overcome the problem.
Constitutional treatment on the other hand helps to gain a conscious understanding of ourselves and our needs, while at the same time reminding our bodies of what our natural state of health is. Working with a homeopath will strengthen our awareness of ourselves, our bodies and our needs, while at the same time help us deal with life’s challenges in a strong and effective way, and leaving us with a strong and vibrant vital force to enjoy life.