Congratulations! As a human living in a body, you’re in charge of one of the most sophisticated organisms on the planet!
Your body comes fully equipped with:
An integrated set of organs that are in constant communication and designed to maintain optimal balance
A physical structure to move us away from harm, towards food and love
A powerful life force (qi, prana or the Healing Power of Nature, as we call it in naturopathic medicine).
Consciousness to appreciate life and thrive
Now the key questions: How aware of it are you, and how well are you caring for your “self”?
If you’re not sure that you’re aware of this vital force, tune into your breath: Every inhalation bathes your blood with oxygen and every exhalation carries away carbon dioxide (which goes on to nourish nearby plants...amazing symbiosis).
Notice your heartbeat…that gentle, consistent rhythm is further evidence of your body’s inherent healing power, constantly moving oxygen-rich blood to nurture every cell of your body 24/7.
In fact, thousands of chemical messengers form our "internal pharmacy" and are constantly working to promote optimal health and return you to a state of balance.
HOMEOSTASTIS: BALANCE AT WORK
Homeostasis is the natural process that maintains optimal internal conditions in an ever-changing environment. It does so through thousands of biochemical feedback loops that regulate everything from hunger and sleep to blood pressure and hormone levels.
Get this: it’s been estimated that 37 billion, billion chemical reactions occur inside us EVERY SECOND, nurturing the 100 trillion cells that form our physical body.
Nature's healing current nourishes each cell with the energy and nutrients essential to breathe, digest our last meal, create new blood cells, defend against cancer and fulfill our life’s dreams.
White blood cells devour virulent microorganisms, preventing infection.
Microscopic bone fractures are repaired as special cells, called osteoblasts, build new bone.
If we cut ourselves, our healing energy goes to work instantly. Histamine increases blood flow to the area, bringing millions of white blood cells to phagocytize (or engulf) any invading microorganisms and clear away debris. Fibrinogen activates the clotting mechanism. Within minutes the body has begun to seal the wound and repair damaged tissue.
All this happens constantly on a cellular level, without any conscious effort on our part.
Simultaneously, the "self" of whom we are aware, is busy meeting the demands of modern life, completely unaware of these processes.
Our homeostatic mechanisms perform consistently until the stresses of life take their toll. When these self-regulating systems are taxed to the point of dysfunction, our body falls out of balance and dis-ease results.
Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet (SAD) is notoriously deficient in the essential nutrients that catalyze all these biochemical reactions. The food we eat, water we drink and air we breathe is now laced with toxic chemicals that challenge our liver's detoxification capacities in ways never experienced before the twentieth century.
Add to that the mental, emotional and spiritual stressors of modern life and these delicate homeostatic mechanisms begin to break down, allowing dis-ease to develop.
Rather than supporting these processes with compassionate self-care and lifestyle change, our disease-management system uses a host of synthetic pharmaceuticals that mask the symptoms but never address their root cause.
In fact, taking a medication (even a natural one) without first supporting our health, weakens our homeostatic mechanisms, leaving us open to further demise.
Instead, we have the opportunity to understand our body’s symptoms as valuable feedback from the body to the mind that something needs to change.
Once we tune in, we have the response-ability to change our behaviors, bring balance back into our lives and support to the processes that restore health.
When we actually listen to the messages our body is generating and respond with tender, loving care, we’re on the path back to health.
Imagine how healthy you could be if you actively engaged in a plan to support these natural efforts…take a moment to imagine that, deep in your bones!
Here’s a set of seven steps to get you started:
7 Simple Steps to Strengthen Your Natural Self-Healing Powers
Do personal “check-ins” with yourself several times a day. It goes something like this: “Hey, Sally, how are you feeling right now? What do you need to do to rebalance?” (Eat, drink, move, stretch, breathe deeply, meditate, sleep…it’s amazing how these things can fall off of our radar, hmm?)
Practice breathing exercises to promote relaxation, lower cortisol, reduce inflammation, improve energy, posture and more. Plus it is easy, free and fun!
Stretch, walk, run, jump and play to build and maintain muscle mass to support your joints and reduce pain and inflammation.
Eat a plant-based, nutrient-dense diet, filled with brightly colored veggies, fruit, nuts and whole grains and the right balance of protein for your body type.
Create loving relationships with a community of friends, family or co-workers so that you have something to live for!
Spend time in Nature daily to reset your natural rhythms. Exposure to early morning sunlight with a brisk walk shifts our metabolism and helps maintain a balanced hormonal system, lower blood pressure and cortisol levels.
Reset your nervous system by creating a bedtime ritual that delivers 7-8 hours of sleep. Your body will be restored and it will thank you!
Remember: Nature knows how to heal. Your body is resilient and will be responsive to your efforts!
Now that I’ve shared my strategies, I really want to hear your thoughts!
What worries you most about aging?
What health problems do you need help solving?
If you’d like to learn more about how to grow your health, age healthfully and fight chronic disease, then stay tuned:
In the next few weeks, I’ll announce the registration date for “The Healthy Aging Reset”, my online course coming in September!
Meanwhile, get out there enjoy the rest of your summer!