What's the difference?
A visit to a local health food store allowed me to overhear a conversation between the shop owner, also a practicing pharmacist in the ordinary clinical sense, and a member of the public. The converstaion highlighted the misconceptions surrounding alternative and complementary medicines and therapies. When the member of the public asked, "How do you know which one to recommend to a customer?", the answer was straightforward and that understood by anyone with an understanding of such practices. That is, that it is not a case of choosing one over the other, one can be used instead of the other or both used simultaneously.
Complementary medicines are just that: complementary to "Western"/"modern" or "mainstream" medicine. According to the US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), this is a practice "used together with conventional medicine". On the other hand, alternative medicines are defined by NCCIH as practices "used instead of conventional medicine". 1
Complementary medicines and therapies and alternative ones are therefore exactly the same thing. The only distinction is how and when they are used in relationship to the conventional clinical world.
How does nutritional therapy support me?
The foundation stone of the nutritional aspect of these practices is simply live well to be well: adopt lifestyle and nutritional practices to prevent illness - or disease (dis-ease). When you are in this ideal state you boost your immune system which is in turn preventative. Although many of today's medical and healthcare practices have derived from this and are encouraged by mainstream healthcare professionals (mindfulness, yoga, for instance), prevention is how this 5000-year-old science taking a holistic approach contrasts with modern medicine in that the latter often fails to take a whole system holistic view of the person. However, recommended natural remedies also exist to assist us when ailments afflict us.
Even when eating a carefully thought out diet that is nutritionally beneficial to our own personal constitution and following healthy lifestyle practices, it is easy for our bodily systems to fall out of balance. Consider how everything surrounding us is in constant flux: weather patterns, seasons, even the change between night and day influence the balance in our outer environment. This, and other actions such as eating incompatible food combinations (there are several), also influences the balance of our internal environment i.e. our physical and mental responses, processes and actions. These in turn impact on our physical and mental health and wellbeing often due to the accumulation of bacteria in the gut. Often there are simple ways to rectify such an imbalance and general advice can be given to anyone.
What's so great about this therapy?
A great thing about Ayurveda is that it does not assume a one-size-fits all approach. Other than adopting a holistic approach to wellbeing and treatment, it recognises that we all have our unique personal constitution and therefore some guidance, dietary in particular, can be highly personalised to help with the condition or imbalance experienced, both physical and mental.
Introduction to Ayurveda is an online, on-demand mini-course explaining these basic principles to improve your wellbeing.
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IMPORTANT: Advice on natural remedies, nutrition or lifestyle is NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR ADVICE FROM A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL OR PROFESSIONAL COUNSELLING SERVICES. It is offered as a complementary therapy and not as a guarantee to prevent or cure any condition, illness, disease or ailment.
When we hear talk of natural home remedies, a lot of the time we think of old wives tales and herbal "concoctions". It is often forgotten that nature provides until someone stumbles across a stinging nettle and remembers that a dock leaf will be nearby.
At the time of writing many people want to ensure they are in a healthy starting position to face the uncertain times ahead brought to us by the outbreak of the coronavirus. Ayurvedia has taught human beings over the centuries that our both our mindset and natural environment provide what we need to prevent illness and ensure wellbeing. Nothing guarantees against an epidemic other than sensible precautions and taking care to stay well; but to be well in the first place and have a healthy immune system is always a good starting point!
Now, when many people are relying on what they have at home and avoiding venturing out among the masses, it is reassuring to know that items you may already have in your kitchen cupboard could provide natural home remedies that have been picked up in the weekly shop without even knowing their full curative or preventive potential. Rather than waiting for an online order to be delivered or heading to a pharmacy or supermarket for an over-the-counter medicine, the answer could be readily available to you without even leaving the house.
This blog hopes to provide some tips and advice on ways to stay well and potentially boost your immune system through better nutrition choices and mitigate or prevent illness (or dis-ease, a state of not being fully at ease). It may not necessarily be a case of actively consuming a particular item but possibly avoiding a certain product that is known - in Ayurveda at least - to contribute to a particular issue you are experiencing.
The Ayurveda Natural Home Remedies page has two webforms. One is to contact me for advice on a particular matter which will often be suited to anyone with the same issue. Sometimes there are very specific variants of an ailment which are best responded to in a more specific way. When you complete this form I may have to ask you for some additional information.
The second webform is next to two forms to download then complete and send me the results which will help me determine your personal "constitution" that a remedy can be more specifically provided for or if you would simply like a what to eat and not eat guide suited to your constitution.
Keeping checking back for more posts and ideas to stay well. The next article, Covid-19, Hot Water and Ayurveda considers the social media myth of how hot water can combat the coronavirus and explains why this seems to credible to many.
If you have followed any guidance published here or have received personalised guidance for any issue and found something particularly helpful, please share it in the comments under this post or on a post relevant to the issue or tip.
In such times where life is anything but as we know it, keeping well and especially doing what we can to prevent illness is top of everyone's priorities. COVID-19 is a terrifying and as yet not fully understood disease. As often happens, a lot of information is shared across media channels, some of which is misinformation or passed on in good faith giving hope - sometimes false hope. Although experts across the globe are collaborating around the clock to understand the coronavirus and find treatment and a vaccine, nothing is yet officially approved. Despite claims to the contrary across various sites, there is no miracle cure or prevention, no diet or practice that can counter scientific understanding in this case.
This post therefore refers to one of the disseminated rumours that hot drinks and gargling are two ways to counter this and will focus on the first. This rumour indicates that regular sipping of hot liquids keeps the mouth moist and flushes the virus that may have entered the mouth to the stomach where gastric juices neutralise it, thus not spreading to the lungs which are the organs most severely and primarily affected by solidifed mucous in the airways that must be opened.
Sensible as this sounds on first reading, I would refer you to paragraph one. However, from the perspective of Ayurveda and natural home remedies it is understandable why many people globally have taken faith in this advice which will be explained below.
Julie Anne is a mental health speaker offering CPD accredited workshops on trauma and diversity. Her interest in natural home remedies and healthy living and a holistic approach to physical, mental and emotional wellbeing led her to study Ayurveda and gain the Diploma in Ayurveda with distinction in January 2020. She is now a registered holistic therapist with strategies for improving mindset to overcome anxiety, stress and trauma triggers and manage symptoms.