The Healing Power of Nature
One of the key naturopathic principles is the Healing Power of Nature (vis medicatrix naturae).
There is an abundance of recent research about the many ways in which nature heals and is beneficial to health, happiness and wellbeing. Specific findings reveal that spending time in nature can help us lower blood pressure, reduce stress, increase our sense of purpose, inspire awe and gratitude, reduce inflammation, improve immune function, and reduce anxiety and depression.
These are all wonderful and inspiring findings, and reason enough to get ourselves outdoors. The benefits of nature however, are not all measurable in a scientific framework. Traditionally, the healing powers of nature were considered in a much broader sense. The idea of nature’s ability to heal traces back to 400BC and is still being realised today. Early civilisations documented how nature reflects the laws of healing, and the importance of individuals living harmoniously with their environment, and surrounds.
Paracelsus (1493-1541) stated:
“The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature, with an open mind” - Paracelsus
According to the World Health Organisation, in 30 years over 70% of the worlds population will live in cities. Our need to reconnect with nature, and respect and protect it, is becoming more and more apparent. As chronic and lifestyle diseases are more prevalent than ever before, our relationship with nature is highlighted along with its significance for our health and healing, and indeed our lives.
In naturopathy, the healing power of nature recognises that the body is constantly working to restore balance, and heal itself. A naturopath aims to support the body in this healing ~ by treating the whole person, removing obstacles and establishing the circumstances and conditions for optimal health. When we identify and address the root cause(s) of imbalance or disease, nature works with us on the healing journey. We are not separate to it, but are a part of its laws, and it is a part of ours.
“The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well.” - Hippocrates
Spending time in nature allows us to reintegrate ourselves with natural cycles, rhythms, patterns and forces, which strengthen our vitality and ability to heal. We can’t ‘think’ ourselves into good health, and nature is a proven means to help us get out of heads, and into our healing.