Thursday, November 1, 2012

Proactive verses Reactive

I find one of the more difficult things for people, when learning to integrate herbal healing and health into their lives and the lives of their animal companions, is the change needed to one's mindset. Western medicine is based on the idea that we react to what is happening to our bodies. When our head hurts, we choose from a number of pills on the market designed to alleviate pain. When our stomach is upset, once again we choose from numerous products that can be taken to soothe heartburn, indigestion, or a variety of less than pleasant dietary upsets.

A more Eastern or holistic approach would be to look at the problem as a symptom, clue or small piece to a larger health paradigm. What type of headache is it? For example, is the pain dull or stabbing, general or localized? Diet plays an important role in most health conditions, so when people come to me for nutritional consults for their animals the first place I look is diet.

The reason holistic medicine is often referred to as "complimentary medicine" in modern society is that it tends to work over a long term integrative period. While there are many things that can provide immediate relief it is not the same as taking a pill. Frequently, when something is out of balance in a system, a critical key to success of any treatment is identification and changing that which is causing the disharmony in the first place. This requires most of us to take far greater responsibility for our lives, health and the health of our animals then most of us are accustomed to doing.

Long term change takes time and commitment. One of our goals with our Herbal Classes is to find ways to help, teach and support people in this process. Once people are able to get past what can sometimes feel like an overwhelming and impossible amount of information, understanding the needs of our bodies and those of our animals can stop being frustrating and start being fun. The geeky inner mad scientist in me loves discovering and researching new herbs and then going about trying them on myself or the horses to see if I have found better and more effective means of health enhancements. I love having a journal and documenting the changes I find and tracking the data. Perhaps because I am terrible at crosswords puzzles and these are puzzles I can solve that I find them a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend my time. Herbs are powerful and can have extreme side effects, so make certain that if you choose to experiment with them, that you do so from an educated and responsible place.

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