In my first year of naturopathic medical school, I learned about the “vis medicatrix naturae,” or the healing power of nature, which is one of the core principles of naturopathic medicine.
I remind myself about it daily when seeing patients, as this principle recognizes that the body has the inherent ability to heal itself. Every person has their own inner healer.
Your body naturally wants to move toward balance and wholeness, but sometimes obstacles or toxins can block you from living your best life. The key is to become aware of the obstacles and take steps to remove them, so you can start to heal naturally and completely.
Start With Self-Care
Sounds easy right? The first step is the willingness to show up in your life, to put yourself at the top of the “to-do” list, and to find value in self-care and self-investment.
It also takes courage to face all that you may be holding emotionally in your body. Mentally, it takes effort and discipline to think differently and to create new neural networks in the brain.
In this increasingly fast-paced world, each one of us feels challenged to create the time and safe space to tune in and listen to our bodies. Often we are so busy or stressed that we forget to prioritize our happiness and wellness. Many people often revert to old habits and quick solutions that satisfy or medicate you temporarily but leave you craving more—such as eating your favorite junk foods or numbing out for hours in front of the TV.
When you lose the ability to stay in the present moment, then you live based on old stories and programming that may no longer serve your highest purpose in life. In these moments, it becomes difficult to understand what may be toxic to the body, heart, or mind. It’s why so many patients tell me that they don’t know how to listen to their bodies or they don’t trust their cravings.
The Physical Consequences of a Toxic Environment
On the physical level, the underlying causes of dis-ease are when these obstacles start to accumulate and overload our regulatory systems and liver.
The liver filters about 1 quart of blood per minute, constantly cleansing toxins from your blood. But when this vital organ gets overloaded with toxins and becomes deficient in necessary nutrients, symptoms of anger, hormonal imbalance, and sleep difficulties can arise.
Often these symptoms get treated or suppressed, but the underlying cause of how you feel is not addressed. The toxic material gets driven deeper in the body, creating chronic inflammation, which is the underlying cause of many degenerative health issues.
As the detox organs get overloaded, the body copes by storing toxins in fat cells, causing weight gain and/or depositing them in joint and tissues, causing arthritis.
We are exposed to numerous toxins and manmade chemicals in our environment on a daily basis. Our bodies are made up of the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe, and products we apply to our skin.
Water from your tap may contain chloride, fluoride, heavy metals, chemicals, or plastics. The food may have harmful additives, antibiotics, pesticides, and GMOs. The air may have contaminants, mold, or industrial pollution. Our personal body-care products may contain carcinogens.
All of these physical toxins disrupt our gut microbiome, thyroid, and immune system.
Most people are also made up of the chronic infections they carry, the medications they take, and stress hormones surging through the body. These factors can also block our energy, creativity, and ability to make new and healthy changes. Stress, Lyme disease, and many medications are neurotoxic to the brain and impact memory.
Pay Attention to Your Food
But there’s a bigger disruptor of health and happiness also at play. I often witness many folks who are unaware of how food is affecting them, physically or emotionally.
Often people eat the same foods day to day and do not connect that the fatigue, bloating, or depression they experience comes from the foods they eat and equally important, how they eat. Many people go on and off diets, trying the latest popular trend, and ultimately revert back to the old usual habits, unless emotional eating patterns are addressed.
I have come to realize during my years in clinical practice that what brings someone to my office or retreats is the locked and unprocessed emotions of neglect, trauma, grief, shame, and fear.
These stressors drive behaviors, belief systems, and eating habits. Until you feel safe enough to explore and give these emotions a voice, they will continue to control how you live and eat.
Cleansing Creates Transformation
I love helping people cleanse and empowering them to understand how they can heal themselves by connecting with their “inner healers.”
Cleansing to me is about pressing the pause button in life and making you the priority for a change. It’s about boosting awareness and inner peace while allowing for full expression of emotions and trauma.
Would you live in your house for 50 years and not clean it? Would you drive your car one year without an oil change?
Just as cars get rusty with salt, bodies age with toxins. Everyone needs time to consciously cleanse the body.
By reducing your intake of toxins and shifting to nature’s colorful medicines, fruits and vegetables, you lighten what your body has to process so it can rest. This allows your liver and other detox organs to catch up and naturally restore balance.
Creating a safe space to explore, process, and express old stories, memories, and trauma is very detoxifying. It helps to create space for new feelings, thoughts, and healthy relationships. The process of unwinding unhealthy eating habits starts by noticing any emotional eating patterns and becoming “awake at the plate” so that a new healthy relationship with food can develop.
Cleansing fosters a new way of being in the world. We see what we believe. When you pause, you have the opportunity to rewire your brain and forge new neural pathways. It is easier to let go of the lifelong limiting beliefs and auto-pilot thoughts when you are less inflamed and feel nourished and calm.
By cleansing, you can connect deeply with the nature of life and your spiritual truth. This is healing. This is transformation.
© 2019 Tom Francescott, ND