This is a guest post by Ben Stanford of Tall Tree Health.
Natural health is a term thrown around quite a bit these days to describe all kinds of products, treatments and therapies, and/or lifestyle choices.
Unfortunately there’s both a lot of skepticism and a lot of false advertising, when it comes to natural health practices and products.
Different schools have different core definitions of natural health, but they all tend to agree on the following six points.
First and Foremost: Everything From Nature
It’s right there in the name: natural health refers to products and practices that are natural, aka found in nature.
You’ll see this as a recurring theme throughout the next six points — everything put in and done with the human body under the banner of natural health must be somehow naturally occurring in the world.
Conventional medicine has a huge and important role in well-being in our society, but in the past it’s tended to focus more on treatment of symptoms than on preventing disease and other conditions in the first place.
Natural health looks at the whole lifestyle of the individual right from the get go, and prescribes a mix of healthy diet, adequate exercise, and physical activity, herbal supplements, and holistic therapies to keep the body in great shape. This strengthens the immune system, preventing disease and illness down the road.
There are many therapies that are preventative in nature — things like regular massage therapy and acupuncture can do wonders for your muscular, nervous, and immune systems before anything goes wrong.
Organic Whole Foods
Heavily processed foods can wreak havoc on the body because of high sugar content and the presence of harmful chemicals. Natural health means subscribing to a diet of whole foods, with a focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in particular.
Natural health practices also call for organic whole foods, as pesticides used on non-organic foods can be full of toxins that are harmful to the human body.
If you’re new to natural health and have an interest in eating healthier, some of your local stores have some wonderful natural food markets with highly educated staff. Try Planet Organic, Ingredients, or Whole Foods, for instance. You can also buy any of GoGo Quinoa’s organic products online if your local health food retailer doesn’t already carry them.
In the natural health world, supplementation is done with — you guessed it! — naturally occurring substances. Think vitamins, herbs, and even spices.
Whether in powder, tincture, capsule, or tea form, natural supplements offer your your diet a little extra boost, and can have other healing qualities. What they don’t do is contain any chemicals or processed ingredients.
You can get natural supplements over the counter, and there’s some great information out there about what different plants can provide the human body. If you’re dealing with a specific issue and want to try natural supplementation, talking to a naturopathic doctor is probably the best avenue to pursue.
There’s no getting away from it: physical exercise is absolutely essential to your well-being.
This is one area where natural health doesn’t vary too much from conventional medicine — indeed, everyone agrees that 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise (activities that raise your heart rate and get you sweating) at least 3 times a week is the bare minimum you need to be (and stay) healthy.
Stress is a killer, plain and simple.
An inordinate amount of the diseases and health concerns we face in our modern society can be traced back to the amount of stress — from our busy lives, toxins in the our food and products, and our constant attachment to technology — we face on any given day.
You’ll often find things like meditation, yoga, and breathwork as part of a natural health regimen or treatment plan. Simply put, if you aren’t addressing stress levels, you’re missing a big piece of the natural health picture.
So there you have it! Perhaps not quite as “woo-woo” or mystical as you might have expected, but natural health is really just a philosophy that looks at the whole human experience, stresses preventative action, and recommends that everything you put in your body come for the natural world.
Sounds pretty, um, natural, now doesn’t it?