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Philosophy of Health and Wellness

Buddism

            In the Great Suttra of Awareness (Mahasatipatthana Sutta), the Buddha recommends observing the breath, the body (by observing sensations), and the mind (by observing the mental contents). In the section on the reflections on the material elements, the Buddha recommends distinguishing between the elements earth, water, fire and air. Each of these elements has a characteristic: earth is heavy, water binds things together, fire has sensations of heat and cold, and air has the characteristic of motion or movement. One often finds a preponderance of one particular element, which can be caused by diet, by the surroundings, or by deep impressions (sankara) in the mind caused by excessive craving or aversion for that particular sensation in the past.

 

Tibetan Buddhism

            Buddhist theories of mind describes three emotions that are considered to be the root of all illness: craving, aversion and ignorance. In Tibetan Buddhist medicine, these emotions are considered to be “toxins” or “poisons” for which various purification rituals are performed.

             The first poison is desire or passion, which implies grasping at objects or the mental attachment to pleasant experiences. Desire corresponds to disharmony of wind. Some symptoms of a wind disorder are frothy urine, a rough dry tongue or a “jumpy” pulse.  

            Aversion, or hatred, is regarded as the second poison. It consists of the pushing away of unpleasant experiences or objects. Aversion corresponds to disharmony of energy, or bile. Some symptoms of a bile disorder include the presence of thick or yellowish-red urine, thick, yellowish fur on the tongue or a “full” pulse.  

            Ignorance or confusion, involves misunderstanding the nature of an object or experience. Ignorance is considered the third poison of the mind and is related to heavy, or phlegm, disorders. The urine is odorless, thin and whitish, and the pulse is “sluggish or heavy.”

 

Hippocrates, 460-377 BC

Aristotle, 384-322 BC

            According to Hippocratic medicine, there are four main fluids of the body: blood, black and yellow bile, and phlegm. Each of these fluids also corresponded to a temperment (or personality).

            Sanguine refers to the blood, which is considered to be red, hot, moist, and sweet. It corresponds to the element of fire and intuition. The sanguine temperment is optimistic and joyful, yet prone to pride, passion, and cruelty.

            Choler refers to the yellow bile. It is hot, dry, yellow and bitter in taste. Choler corresponds to the Earth element and to sensations. The choler temperment is practical and rational. They are prone to anger, irritability, and impatience.

            Phlegm refers to mucous and other thick secretions in the body. It is cold, moist, white and has a salty taste. Phlegm corresponds to the water element, and to the emotions. The phlegmatic temperment is very sensitive, peaceful, soft and considerate. They usually make strong emotional connections with their loved ones, and suffer deeply from a sense of abandonment if these relationships do not work out. They tend to be hurt emotionally and are usually sad and tearful. They are worse when exposed to too much excitement, over stimulated, and when forced to do things in a hurry.

            Melan cholor translates as “black bile.” It is cold, dry, and has a sour taste. Melancholy corresponds to the element Air and to nervousness. The melancholic temperment is intelligent and sophisticated and are prone to restlessness and depression. They usually have a lean body with long thin bones.

 

Galen, 165 AD

            Claudios Galenos (Galen), physician to Emperor Marcus Aurelius, writes over 500 books on natural therapies and organizes the materia medica into a system based on the actions of herbs. The following is some of the actions organized by body systems: Digestion, Liver and Gallbladder, Urinary Tract, Muscles, Skin, Respiratory, Heart, Immune,  etc.

 

Paracelsus, 1493-1541

            Paracelsus is known as the “father of medical chemistry.” In this modern system the actions of the herbs are believed to be due to specific chemical constituents. He also revived interest in the Doctrine of Signatures and the art of alchemy.

            The Doctrine of Signatures is based on the belief that the shape or color of the plant relates to the therapeutic effect. For instance, walnuts would be considered beneficial to the brain as they are in a hard shell and come in pairs roughly similar to the two hemispheres. This may have scientific validity as nuts are good sources of essential fatty acids which are abundant in brain tissue.

 

Descartes, 1596-1650

            Rene Descartes, a French mathematician, divides the world into body and mind, nature and ideas. His philosophy maintains that “supernatural” concepts, such as the vital force, was the province of religion, not of the new field of “science”.

 

Vitamins, 1757

            In 1757 James Lind in England finds that only fresh fruit and vegetables (which contain vitamin C) can cure scurvy. In 1810, Marzari in Italy connects maize diets and pellagra, a niacin deficiency which causes dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and death. In 1913 McCollum and Davis simultaneously discover vitamin A. In 1926, Minot and Murphy find that pernicious anemia, a fatal disease, can be cured by large amounts of raw liver. They are awarded the Nobel Prize in 1934. Vitamin B12 is isolated in 1948. In 1932, Albert Szent-Gyorgyo isolates vitamin C. In 1948, Vitamin B12, cobalamin, is isolated.

 

Homeopathy, 1800

            The word homeopathy is derived from the Latin words omeos meaning similar, and pathos meaning suffering. It reflects the basic premise of homeopathy which is that like cures like. “A dynamic illness in the living organism is overcome and destroyed in a durable form by another stronger one, always provided that this stronger one, without being of the same species as the other, resembles it much in its manifestations.” Paragraph 26 of the Orgenon. “The curative power of medicaments are derived from the fact they, in themselves, produce similar symptoms to those of the illness, and contain an energy superior to those symptoms.” Paragraph 27 of the Orgenon.

            Vitalism: “In the state of health a spirit-like vital force (dynamis) animating the material human organism reigns in supreme sovereignty.” - Paragraph 9 of the Orgenon.

            Disease: “One may know a disease is only by it’s symptoms, when there is no obvious exciting or sustaining cause to be removed” - Paragraph 7. “When a man falls ill, it is at first only this self-sustaining spirit-like vital force (vital principle) everywhere present in the organism which is untuned by the dynamic influence of the hostile disease agent.” - Paragraph 11. “It is only the pathologically untuned vital force that causes diseases.” - Paragraph 12.

            Cure: “Cure, which is the elimination of all the perceptible signs and symptoms of disease, means also the removal of the inner modifications of the vital force which underlies them: in this way the whole disease has been destroyed.” - Paragraph 17. “The highest ideal of therapy is to restore health is a rapidly, gently and permanently; to remove and destroy the whole disease in the shortest, surest, least harmful way, according to clearly comprehensible principles.” - Paragraph 2.

            The single remedy: “In no case is it necessary to employ more than one single medicine at a time.” - Paragraph 273 of the Orgenon. Classical homeopaths use only one homeopathic remedy at a time. They allow enough time to lapse between remedies for the deeper actions to manifest.

            Drug treatment uses one drug (or more) for each disease. For instance, in the case of a patient suffering from asthma, constipation and rheumatism, the modern physician will prescribe three different medicines - one for each ailment. The homeopath prescribes one remedy, which covers all the symptoms.

 

The Eclectics, 1829

            Wooster Beech (1794-1868) founds the first Eclectic school. Eclecticism combines the new scientific knowledge of physiology and pathology with herbal medicine.

 

Natural Hygiene, 1830

            Natural Hygiene was taught in the 1830’s by Sylvester Graham and William Alcott. Russell T. Trall gave a lecture to the Smithsonian Institute in 1862 which is reprinted in The True Healing Art. In it he cautioned against using any kind of drugs: “To give drugs is adding to the causes of disease; for drugs always produce disease. Indeed, they cure one disease, when they cure at all, by producing others.”

            The basic foundation of Natural Hygiene is that the body is always striving for health and that it achieves this by continually cleansing itself of deleterious waste material. According to Trall: “Disease being a process of purification, I do not wish to subdue it, but to regulate it.” Symptoms of disease are considered to be natural and restorative processes of the body which generally should not be suppressed.

            Chronic disease is believed to be caused by the toxic saturation at the cellular level of the bodily tissues, bloodstream, and fluids. Fasting with fruits is recommended as a means of providing the ideal conditions necessary for the repair of bodily damages and for the elimination of toxins. If you want to be vibrantly and vigorously alive and in the best possible shape, you have to eat food that’s alive. Fresh fruits have the highest energy of all foods.

            Proper food combining: Eat fruit separately. Eat melons separately. You may have starches with vegetables. You may have proteins with vegetables. Eat only one protein at a time. Do not combine fruits and vegetables, or fruit and melons. Do not combine proteins and starches

 

Naturopathic Medicine, 1902

            Benedict Lust founds the American School of Naturopathy in New York. He names his store the first “Health Food Store” and purchases the name “naturopathy” from Dr. John Scheel of New York City.

            Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care - an art, science, philosophy and practice of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illness. Naturopathic medicine is distinguished by the principles which underlie and determine its practice. These principles are based upon the objective observation of health and disease, and are continually reexamined in the light of scientific advances. Methods used are consistent with these principles and are chosen upon the basis of patient individuality. Naturopathic physicians are primary health care practitioners, whose diverse techniques include modern and traditional, scientific and empirical methods. The following principles are the foundation for the practice of naturopathic medicine:

 

            The Healing Power of Nature, Vis Medicatrix Naturae

            Identify and Treat the Causes, Tolle Causam

            First Do No Harm, Primum Non Nocere

            Doctor As Teacher, Docere

            Treat the Whole Person

            Prevention

 

Licensed Naturopathic Physicians

            A licensed naturopathic physician (N.D.) attends a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school and is educated in all the same basic sciences as an M.D. but also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. Besides, a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician is required to   complete four years of training in clinical nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathy, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and counseling (to encourage people to make lifestyle changes in support of their personal health). A naturopathic physician takes rigorous professional board exams so that he or she may be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care general practice physician.

 

Nature Cure, 1919

            Nature Cure was outlined by Henry Lindlahr in The Philosophy and Practice of Nature Cure published in 1919. Health is considered to be the normal and harmonious vibration of the elements and forces composing the human entitiy on the physical, mental and moral planes of being, in conformity with the constructive principle in nature applied to life. The primary cause of disease, barring accidental or surgical injury to the human organism and surroundings hostile to human life, is the violation of nature’s laws.

            The three primary stages of manifestations of disease are: 1. Lowered vitality; 2. Abnormal composition of the blood and lymph; and 3. Accumulation of morbid matter and poisons. Secondary manifestations of disease are: 1. Heredity and acquired taints;  and 2. Germs (bacteria, virus), parasites, etc

            Acute disease is considered to be the result of a healing effort of nature. A healing crisis is an acute reaction resulting from the ascendancy of nature’s healing forces over disease conditions. A disease crisis is an acute reaction resulting from the disease condition over the healing forces of the organism. It’s tendency is, therefore, towards fatal termination.

            Maintaining a healthy vital force is done with: 1. Adequate sleep; 2. Sunlight; 3. Fresh air; 4. Water (for drinking and bathing); 5. Proper food (high in vegetables and fruits); 6. A good mental attitude; 7. Proper way of life.

            All acute diseases have their own course to run, regardless of medication. Take, for example, the common cold. The adage “If you take something for it, it will last a week, otherwise, it continues for seven days” is still true. - Vithaldas Modi in Nature Cure for Common Diseases

            Naturopathy believes that the correct approach to eating is that a person should “eat to live” and not “live to eat.” Most people regard eating as a means of gratifying their desire for the nice things in life. By tradition, “nice” things are supposed to be those which give pleasure and satisfy your taste buds, but nature has a different code. - Vithaldas Modi in Nature Cure for Common Diseases

 

What's your next step?

The next step, after you have been diagnosed with a disease, is to find out what is the specific cause, and then choose supplements that address it. Phone consults are my specialty. Please call my at (239) 659-2684 to schedule a consultation.

The choice is yours

I recommend that you make an informed choice, and the goal of this web site is to provide you with the information to make a wise choice when it comes to your health and wellness.

As you can see, I don't sell any vitamins on this web site. There are thousands of vitamin stores that will sell you whatever vitamin you want, and many of them offer discounts.

If you are interested in some high-quality basic nutritional supplements, I recommend visiting the Store You will find my recommendations for a multiple, tasty chewable fiber wafers, high-potency probiotics, and fish oils.

Good luck in your journey towards health and wellness!!

Why don't you tell me what vitamins to take for this disease?

Unfortunately, that would be a clear violation of FDA regulations. Also, one of the most important aspect of naturopathy is: "Treat the person, not the disease". This is a profound statement, and many people have spent thousands of dollars on vitamins listed in books or web sites for a specific disease. This is what I call "vending machine medicine". It rarely works! The solution is to find a naturopathic physician, such as myself, to assist you.

 


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Ronald Steriti, ND, PhD
Natural Health Coach and Consultant
ron@naturdoctor.com

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