Complexity of Health

Listening to Peter Conway at the herbal conference I recently attended was really inspiring. A fellow herbalist who writes and speaks on the subject and has been a part of the Department of Health Steering Group in the regulation of herbal medicine. His interest in chronic and complex conditions highlights my own work in this area which has been increasing over the years as people look for multi-dimensional treatments.

Dealing with modern day complex health conditions requires a broader approach and many individuals are choosing to undertake a naturopathic or herbal programme, often alongside western conventional treatments. Peter's talk addressed cancer in particular from the perspective of treating the whole body - do we treat the cell or the environment in which the cell grows? An important question which many scientists and thinkers have posed throughout centuries. Whilst modern day cancer treatments focus on the cell, a naturopath / herbalist aims to focus on helping to enhance the extra cellular matrix in which cells need to grow. Being a microbiologist in my early years I know from experience that these conditions have to be very particular indeed for any cell to grow, be it human, plant, bacteria or virus.

Although our bodies maintain and regulate our internal environment, the way we go about our lives plays a big influence too e.g. how we handle stress, our posture, tension in our muscles, how we deal with our emotions and of course what we eat can all contribute to creating a healthy or unhealthy environment. These factors may seem trivial to some but just think for a moment, take one habit you do daily, multiply it by 365 days of the year, then another 10, 20, 30, 50 or so years of your life. How do you think that one single habit will have an affect on your health long term?

Reversing chronic conditions may therefore require one to look at their life in totality; perhaps looking for clues, getting insights, asking questions, removing blocks or opening up to other possibilities where there seem to be none. And a way to do that is to begin the journey by keeping an open mind, being a philosopher by asking the questions, being a scientist by experimenting - rejecting what doesn't work and acknowledging what does. For me having seen the way plant and food medicine can help is an option definitely worth exploring.




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