Alternatives A-Z – Part 4

Donna Easto, Traditional Herbalist,
Certified Herbal Educator

Homeopathy is a system of complementary medicine developed in the late 18th century. Founder Dr. Samuel Hahnemann of Germany based his philosophy on the belief that the body heals itself following the ancient Law of Similars. You may know it as “like cures like,” in other words, something that brings on symptoms in a healthy person can— in a very small dose —treat an illness with similar symptoms by triggering the body’s natural defenses. Homeopathic remedies consist of severly diluted substances from plants, minerals, chemicals and animals that produce symptoms similar to the illness being treated. For example, the homeopathic medicine Coffea cruda, a dilution made from unroasted coffee beans, is used to treat shaking, agitation and insomnia, symptoms similar to those of caffeine over-consumption. Vaccines are sometimes compared to homeopathic nosodes (a homeopathic remedy often sold in pellet form said to be an alternative to vaccines) but while the theory behind both is similar the method of development and administration are very different and there’s no research to date proving their use as alternatives to vaccines. 

Homeopaths believe that the lower the dose, the more powerful the medicine. The remedies come in a variety of forms, like sugar pellets, liquid drops, creams, gels, and tablets many of which you can buy over-the-counter at drugstores and health food stores. The dosage and quality of these products depend on the manufacturer. If you are being treated for a particular health condition or are taking pharmaceutical medicines, discuss the use of Homeopathic remedies with your health care professional. Many medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, veterinarians and naturopathic physicians are also certified in homeopathy. During your appointment with a homeopathic practitioner you will be asked a number of questions about your mental, emotional, and physical health. They’ll prescribe the remedy that best matches all of your symptoms, and tailor the treatment for you.

Lymphatic Massage was developed in the 1930s by Dr. Emil Vodder of Denmark. This form of massage ensures the healthy flow of fluid through the lymphatic system, a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins and waste. The system transports lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells throughout the body using the pressure resulting from muscle contractions and joint movements during activities such as walking, running and exercising. A prolonged illness, a sedentary lifestyle or physical limitations can lead to a sluggish lymphatic system. However, most commonly, impaired or plugged-up lymphatic vessels are the result of surgery, infection, trauma, or diseases such as cancer or autoimmune disorders. 

A backed up lymphatic system can cause lymph edema, chronic swelling in a specific area of the body. In the medical field, manual lymph drainage is used to help people who have had damage to their lymphatic system. The massage has a very light pressure because the system is close to the surface of the skin.  There are specific techniques used to assist with moving lymphatic fluid out of the damaged areas to other areas in the body that are functioning normally.

Simple lifestyle changes can help to keep your lymphatic system healthy:  drink adequate water, eat a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods and vegetables, include healthy fats in your diet, keep your body moving, exercise daily and a quick cold rinse following your shower can help wake up both you and your lymphatic system.

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