The Nurture of Nature


                                     Witch Doctor, by Brett Manning on Etsy

This morning I went to see a Naturopath. Here is what a naturopath is, and does.

Naturopathic and conventional medicine, as practiced by physicians and surgeons, are complementary, not competing disciplines. Conventional medicine attacks disease by intervening with drugs or surgery. Although its methods are highly effective, there are often undesirable side-effects. Antibiotics, for example, have a scattergun effect, damaging the body’s immune system along with the targeted organisms. Naturopathic medicine takes the opposite approach, combating disease by supporting the natural defenses of the body. Both disciplines have their place; neither alone is the complete answer to health.

We Naturopathic Doctors take a holistic approach, treating the entire human organism, rather than just the immediate disease. We look for the causes of unhealth, rather than merely ameliorating symptoms. And we emphasize prevention as opposed to dealing with problems that have already developed. Although Naturopathic Doctors are trained in an array of skills, we put our ultimate trust in the natural capacity of humans for health. As a species we survived for eons before the invention of modern medicine. Our mandate is to support that innate healing capacity.

Basically, they diagnose the same as physicians, but they treat differently.

Before I get into it, I feel the need to explain that Naturopaths aren’t quacks or witch doctors, or hippies with long flowing hair and prayer beads that pull treatments out of their ass.

My particular naturopath is a graduate of the University of B.C. (BSc, Cell Biology and Genetics) and The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.

For the first two years of Naturopathic college follows a standard medical school curriculum, and then branches into naturopathic disciplines after that.

What I am trying to say guys, is that this shit is LEGIT.

Also interesting is that fact that after getting a full medical history from me she (understandably) dove into ye olde kidneys and then she blew my socks off and I proposed to her.

I felt somewhat defensive initially, because many many many MANY (many) people, especially here in this hippie town I live in, have encouraged me to take a “natural” approach to healing this condition. They have suggested acupuncture and supplements and working on my qi. Or they have suggested that I eat differently or exercise differently or will myself into health through good intentions.

Guys, you know me, I am all up in that natural healing shit (I WENT TO A NATUROPATH) but I always find myself bristling at these suggestions because this is sometimes the downside of natural health – I can’t just positive intention myself into wellness.

I can’t eat differently to cure this, that’s like telling an amputee that if they just consumed more quinoa their arm would grow back. There is a part of my body that is genetically flawed, it DOES NOT WORK. And all I can do is try and mitigate its effects.

Suggesting otherwise makes me feel incredibly defensive because I feel like I’m being blamed, I feel like people are telling me that I somehow did this to myself, through diet or lifestyle or negative thinking.

Quite plainly, that’s bullshit.

So. As excited as I was to see this Naturopath, I had also prepared a speech in my head to this effect, prepared to explain that while I was open to alternative therapies, my kidney condition will never be cured. With prescriptions, herbs, magic or otherwise.

Instead after talking to me for about an hour, about almost every aspect of my physical and emotional health, she looked at me and suggested IV magnesium treatments.

I sat there, stunned.

Guys, I can’t get magnesium infusions at the hospital until I present in an emergency. It’s something I’ve been fighting for for five years, because although I can feel the slow decline in health for weeks, months sometimes, with the blood tests to back me up, no one will give me an IV until I show up at the ER.

So instead of preventing crisis, our healthcare system requires me to wait until I am completely bottoming out with cramping muscles and irregular heartbeats and tears and immense, enormous amounts of pain.

This is such disordered thinking, I can’t even.

And the fact that she can just offer that to me, and how she understands how important it is that I feel not just NOT SICK, but healthy, alive, energetic, mentally clear… what the serious fuck.

It goes without saying that these treatments are not covered by our healthcare system. The same infusions that would be paid for were I receiving them in the ER while occupying a bed and tying up doctors and nurses for 8 hours, are not covered if I receive them in smaller amounts on a regular basis to PREVENT that crisis, that panic, that strain on my health and my heart and the emergency room.

I love her. I can’t wait to try this. My first IV is on the 25th.

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