Another new year! January is the time of year we commit ourselves to renewal. New Year’s Resolutions reflect our intentions to make our lives better this year than we did in the last, not to repeat past mistakes, and to make life changes that will encourage better relationships, better livelihood, and better health. But we all know that it takes more than a resolution to make those changes in our lives … it takes a plan, too. The “how to” is often as important as the “what” where significant changes are concerned.
What resolutions do you have for 2019? How will you effect these changes? Have you heard the adage “plan your work, then work your plan”? Well, start with the resolution, the commitment. Make a list of desired changes. Then make a definite plan as to what it will take to effect the changes. Put a timeline on the plan: what will you work on daily, what will be worked on weekly, etc., and do you need to put together a chart to track your progress? Finally, begin immediately (no, not tomorrow!) to work the plan.
I hope “better health” is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions. It certainly is on mine. One of my goals is to lose some weight. Watching my diet, exercising more and taking my supplements are in my plan. I have a chart with places for weekly weigh-ins to track my progress. And I’m telling you about it so you can ask me how it’s going (accountability to others for my goals, too).
In her book Help Yourself: The Beginner’s Guide to Natural Medicine, Karolyn Gazella states that “natural medicine has been catapulted to the forefront of our ailing healthcare system.” She quotes Dr. Michael Murray giving a primary reason for this: “Modern medicine has not done a very good job at teaching people how to be healthy. The dominant medical model is really not a ‘health-care’ model. Instead, it is a ‘disease-care’ model that focuses on using drugs or surgery to promote health. This view is rapidly being replaced by a more rational model of health promotion where the focus is on what can be done to promote health rather than treat disease.”
Dr. Murray gives five principles for this focus:
- The body has considerable power to heal itself. The physician facilitates this process and must do no harm.
- An individual must be viewed as a whole person composed of a complex interaction of physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, social, and other factors.
- It is important to seek the underlying cause of a disease rather than simply suppress the symptoms.
- A physician should be foremost a teacher. Educating, empowering, and motivating the patient to assume more personal responsibility for their health by adopting a healthy attitude, lifestyle, and diet.
- Prevention is the best cure. Prevention of disease is best accomplished through dietary and life habits which support health and prevent disease.
People who have not used herbal supplements before often ask, “How do I get started?” I recommend any number of good books that correlate ailments to herbs or herbs to ailments. Here are a few examples.
- The Little Herb Encyclopedia
- The How To Herb Book
- Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible
Then look up a hereditary family medical problem or a personal ailment, and see which herbs have historically been used for that condition. Or talk to older family members; many grew up using herbal remedies. Some of the more common ones are glucosamine for arthritis, valerian for sleeplessness, licorice root for fatigue, ginger for motion sickness, kava for nervous anxiety & restlessness, saw palmetto for an enlarged prostate, milk thistle for liver damage, peppermint oil for tension headaches, feverfew for migraine headaches, and vitamins C and E for heart medications that will keep arteries open and dilated, fight plaque buildup and ward off heart attacks.
It’s the New Year. Let’s take advantage of our good intentions at this time of the year and plan to GET STARTED. Then work that plan. Remember, it’s your health … make the most of it.
– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: [email protected]