There have been some pretty ugly flu-type symptoms around lately: fevers, aches, pains, accompanied by diarrhoea, vomiting and a pretty good cough, too. It always seems true to human form that when we are stuck in the wrath of a flu or similar, we are very motivated to prevent it.
In fact, avoiding flu has been something that I have been passionate about for the last 20 years. It has become one of the driving forces of my inspiration to live healthily. I used to suffer with annual colds and flu and regular bronchitis was often the result. Nothing that a life prescription of inhaled steroids couldn’t fix. But I wasn’t so keen on this option. A few years later, I began treatment with a naturopath who advised a strict change in lifestyle. I would say diet, but that is such a misleading word. Since then, I haven’t had another glimpse of bronchitis, and have had only two sick days off work in 20 years while I was undergoing a detox.
Which is a great segue to an interesting discussion about illness versus detox. What do I mean by this? Well, we live under the theory that germs are the cause of disease and this concept shapes most of our belief around contagious disease (spread by touch) and infectious disease (which is airborne and spread by breathing, coughing, sneezing and so forth).
Of course, we can’t argue that there are not bacteria or viruses present in the disease process. That has been well established. The point of discussion enters as we look at the cause of disease and whether we entertain the thought that there may be other causes aside from just bugs.
Most people carry a wide variety of bacteria and viruses and these can be detected in places like the throat. If we took a swab of most people’s throats, there would be evidence of enough nasty bugs to make a hypochondriac swoon.
The question is, how do these bacteria and viruses proliferate to the point of disease? Do they always cause disease or are they just present as disease manifests? The naturopathic philosophy believes it has more to do with how well our immune system is functioning. There are many body systems that affect our immune system – adrenal health, digestive system integrity, nutritional status and liver function to name a few.
Many things affect these systems, but they are ultimately affected by our lifestyles. What we eat and how we manage our work and relationships. Furthermore, as our bodies eliminate stored toxins, the symptoms can be identical to the common cold and the flu.
This also challenges the germ theory and warrants more scientific investigation.
It is common to sell ‘get well’ pills to someone when they are unwell, but the real gold for wellbeing is in the changes to lifestyle, especially removing the things that have probably caused the imbalance in the first place.
Eugene Sims, Warkworth Natural Therapies