Understanding Homeostasis: Self-Healing
Leon Chaitow, N.D., D.O., M.R.O.
It is absolutely vital for anyone afflicted with a chronic illness to hold onto the fact that their body is a self-healing mechanism, that since broken bones mend and cuts usually heal, and that since most health disturbances, from infections to digestive disturbances, get better with or without treatment (often faster without!) that, in a healthy state, there must be in operation a constant tendency towards normalisation and balanced function. This is called homeostasis.
Homeostatic functions (which include the immune system) can be overwhelmed by too many tasks and demands, because of (perhaps) any or all of a selection of negative impacts including nutritional deficiencies, accumulated toxic material (environmental pollution, either as food or inhaled, in medication, previous or current use of drugs etc), emotional stress, recurrent or current infections, allergies, modified functional ability due to age or inborn factors or acquired habits involving poor posture, breathing imbalances and/or sleep disturbances and so on and on …
At a certain point in time the adaptive homeostatic mechanisms break down and frank illness, disease, appears and as homeostasis breaks down, a state of heterostasis emerges. At this time the body needs help, treatment, and this can take the form of either:
a: Reducing the load which is impacting the body by taking away as many of the undesirable factors as possible, by avoiding allergens, improving posture and breathing, learning stress coping tactics, improving diet, using supplements if called for, helping normalise sleep and circulatory function, introducing a detoxification programme, dealing with infections, and generally trying to keep the pressure off the defence mechanisms while it focuses on the current chronic repair needs.
b: Enhancing, improving, modulating defence and repair processes by a variety of means, mainly non-specific (described as constitutional methods, which will be explained further in later articles in this series).
c: Treating the symptoms: while making sure that what is being done does not add further to the burden of the defence and repair mechanisms.
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Dr. Chaitow is a practicing naturopath, osteopath, and acupuncturist in the UK, with over forty years clinical experience. He regularly lectures in the USA and Europe, and has written over 60 books on natural health and alternative medicine.