Is it Natural?

The abuse of the word natural is an elephant-sized pet peeve of mine. I don’t know who the knucklehead was that announced that anything natural was automatically good for you, but if I ever meet him or her, I’m going to have a few words to say!

Whether or not something is “natural” should have absolutely no bearing on whether or not you decide to use it for healing. The only way to decide what’s appropriate is to find out what the substance or procedure is expected to do and what the consequences are whether it works or not. It is only when the patient is aware of the risks and expectations that they are ready to make an educated decision.

Let’s talk about penicillin for a moment. Penicillin is a naturally occurring substance, produced by yeast. However, it can also be made in a chemistry lab. The molecule, whether produced by yeast or man, is the same, and has the same effect on the body. So here is a clear example of how being natural has nothing to do with the healing abilities of a substance.

To further my case, I’d like to point out that many “natural” substances, are in fact, poisonous. While everybody knows how harmful synthetic chemotherapy agents can be, we must be aware of the risks involved with using “natural” substances such as mercury and arsenic. When we use drugs like these, it’s critical to look at the harm versus the benefit ratio for the drug, whether it’s natural or synthetic.

Now that we’ve established that the effects of the drug, not the origin (synthetic versus naturally occurring) is what counts, lets’ shift slightly. In my opinion, the term “natural healing” means that something is stimulating the body to heal itself. That is, the drug (or whatever other modality we use), is being used to trigger the natural healing process within the organism. This can be achieved by many different means:

  • the vital force (chi) can be stimulated with a homeopathic remedy or an acupuncture needle
  • the body can be supported with supplements while allowing the natural healing process to take place
  • the spine can be readjusted to remove physical blocks (this will frequently stimulate emotional blocks also) psychotherapy can be utilized to remove emotional blocks, etc.

Regardless of what modality you use, the idea remains the same—you remove blocks to healing, so that the body does the rest naturally.