How natural medicine can work for your health and wellbeing
Brought to you by Natural Medicine Week, 24 – 30 May 2021 by the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society (ATMS)
Improving our overall health and wellbeing is at the forefront of many people’s minds and a natural approach is one way to do so. In celebration of Australia’s only Natural Medicine Week, 24-30 May 2021, we’ve collated a guide to help you understand what natural medicine is, how it works, the different types of therapies available and why it’s so important for our health.
What are the different therapies of natural medicine?
Natural medicine refers to healthcare practices and therapies implemented by trained, accredited practitioners to alleviate patients’ symptoms via natural methods and materials.
Therapies, or types of natural medicine, can be classified into three primary models: ingestive therapies, bodywork or massage and Chinese medicine. Here are some therapies that are used within each:
A holistic approach to wellness based on the principle that the body has the inherent ability to heal itself. Naturopathy focuses on assessing the whole person, not just the affected area. The therapy involves a range of techniques including nutritional advice, bodywork and herbal medicines to assist with internal health problems. Naturopaths believe that when we restore or maintain the equilibrium of the body, our immune system is better placed to defend itself against infection and disease.
This is a complementary therapy which aims to treat muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissues to promote normal joint function and assist in pain and injury management. Massage is used to locate and repair damaged areas of the body through applied pressure or movement to promote the flow of blood and speed up the healing process. If a person has suffered a moderate injury resulting in structural pain and/or loss of function, remediation may be required to reduce or eliminate pain and help restore the body’s function to normal. Massage therapists may use their hands, forearms or elbows to manually affect muscle tissue, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue.
Nutrition is the science of food, encompassing the nutrients in foods and how the body uses those nutrients. It includes the process of ingestion, digestion, absorption, metabolism, transport, storage and excretion of those nutrients. It also includes the environmental, psychological and behavioural aspects of food and eating. The six classes of nutrients include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water. Nutrition principles are applied throughout the life cycle from the time of conception to our later years. Areas of nutrition emphasis include pregnancy, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and the ‘older’ adult. The relationship between diet and health is strong. Diet is an important factor that can contribute to heart disease, stroke, hypertension, cancer, diabetes mellitus and obesity.
This is a part of Chinese Medicine, involving the use of thin needles that are inserted into specific points along the body’s energy pathways (meridians) to clear blockages and encourage the flow of energy or Qi. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) acupuncture has been proven to be an effective treatment for hay fever, depression, facial pain, induction of labour, knee pain, lower back pain, nausea and vomiting, neck pain, rheumatoid arthritis and tennis elbow.
Why is natural medicine different?
Natural medicine therapies often take a holistic approach, meaning that a trained natural medicine practitioner will consider the person, not a named health condition. This approach incorporates a combination of therapies with the underlying belief that your body, when given the right support, can heal itself.
Natural medicine often takes a preventative approach, and many people believe that when we restore and maintain the equilibrium of the body, our immune system is better placed to defend itself against infection and disease.
In 2021, Natural Medicine Week is going digital! As part of Natural Medicine Week in 2021, accredited practitioners of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society (ATMS) are hosting a number of digital events across the country.
Find an online event to attend, take advantage of a special offer, cook a new healthy recipe or read one of our practitioner blogs at www.naturalmedicineweek.com.au.
For advice you can trust, always consult an accredited practitioner that is qualified in all their therapies and part of a professional Association.