One You This month we received the following press release from ERYC: The ground-breaking new campaign, ‘One You’, has been launched to help adults avoid future diseases caused by modern day life. Everyday habits and behaviours – such as eating too much unhealthy food, drinking more than is recommended, continuing to smoke and not being active enough – are responsible for around 40% of all deaths in England, and cost the NHS more than £11 billion a year. ‘One You’ aims to encourage adults, particularly those in middle age, to take control of their health to enjoy significant benefits now and in later life. The smoking rate in Yorkshire and The Humber is the highest in England at 20.1% or c850,000 smokers; 67% of adults in the region are overweight; 29% are physically inactive; 499,000 adults are at high risk of type 2 diabetes. Around 40% of all deaths in England are related to behaviour. The NHS spends more than £11bn a year on treating illnesses caused by the effects of diet, inactivity, smoking and drinking alcohol. Latest figures show that life expectancy at older ages is at record levels, but we’re living longer with poorer health. On average, men in Yorkshire and the Humber can expect ill health to start to hit at just 61.1 years – well before retirement – and in some places this falls to around 56 years. Healthy life expectancy for women in the region is 61.8 years. Studies show living healthily in middle-age can double your chances of being healthy when you are 70. Naturopathy Bearing in mind these statistics it is interesting to consider what Naturopathy – an ancient approach to medicine – has been telling us for centuries. The whole philosophy and practice of naturopathy is built on three basic principles. The first and most basic principle of nature cure is that all forms of disease are due to the same cause, namely, the accumulations of waste materials and bodily refuse in the system. These waste materials in the healthy individual are removed from the system through the organs of elimination. However in the diseased person, they are steadily piling up in the body through years of faulty habits of living such as wrong feeding, improper care of the body and habits contributing to enervation and nervous exhaustion such as worry, overwork and excesses of all kinds. It follows from this basic principle that the only way to cure disease is to employ methods which will enable the system to throw off these toxic accumulations. All natural treatments are actually directed towards this end. The second basic principle of nature cure is that all acute diseases such as fevers, colds, inflammations, digestive disturbances and skin eruptions are nothing more than self-initiated efforts on the part of the body to throw off the accumulated waste materials. All chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, rheumatism, asthma, kidney disorders, are the results of continued suppression of the acute diseases through harmful methods such as drugs, vaccines, narcotics and gland extracts. The third principle of nature cure is that the body contains an elaborate healing mechanism which has the power to bring about a return to a normal condition of health, provided right methods are employed to enable it to do so. In other words, the power to cure disease lies within the body itself and not in the hands of the doctor. Nature Cure vs Modern System The modern medical system treats the symptoms and suppresses the disease but does little to ascertain the real cause. Toxic drugs which may suppress or relieve some ailments usually have harmful side-effects. Drugs usually hinder the self-healing efforts of the body and make recovery more difficult. According to the late Sir William Osler, an eminent physician and surgeon, when drugs are used, the patient has to recover twice – once from the illness, and once from the drug. Drugs cannot cure diseases; disease continues. It is only its pattern that changes. Drugs also produce dietary deficiencies by destroying nutrients, using them up, and preventing their absorption. Moreover, the toxicity they produce occurs at a time when the body is least capable of coping with it. The power to restore health thus lies not in drugs, but in nature. The approach of the modern system is more on combative lines after the disease has set in, whereas the nature cure system lays greater emphasis on preventive method and adopts measures to attain and maintain health and prevent disease. The modern medical system treats each disease as a separate entity, requiring specific drug for its cure, whereas the nature cure system treats the organism as a whole and seeks to restore harmony to the whole of the patient’s being. Looking after Ourselves If we want to be healthy enough to enjoy our old age we need to try to eliminate the causes of disease from our lives rather than continuing with our bad habits and expecting doctors and drugs to pick up the pieces. Apart from the obvious addictions such as smoking and alcohol, in this age of abundance almost all of us have become reliant on other more socially acceptable but equally damaging substances when consumed in excess such as sugars, salts, fats, caffeine, meats, dairy, anti-depressants and anti-biotics. Although relying on healthy living and cures from nature may not provide a ‘quick fix’ solution to our pain as some drugs can, in the long term it will give us a better chance of allowing our body to cure itself and help us to enjoy vitality and well being in later life.