Written for The Health ‘n Hockey Community
By Dr. Ramona Charikar
The human body is an amazing thing. The average person’s heart beats more than 100 000 times a day. Our lungs expand and contract, inhaling and exhaling air. Our blood circulates through our arteries and veins to nourish our tissues - and all of this without a conscious thought on our behalf. What an amazing creation, that all of this happens without our thinking about it, allowing us to focus our thoughts on other things….rushing through our busy days, keeping up at work, driving kids to hockey, preparing meals and cleaning the house. It is so easy for us to take this amazing creation for granted, as we push through the whirlwind of our daily schedules.
We push our bodies hard….sometimes we don’t get adequate sleep, we don’t eat the healthiest of meals and we don’t get enough exercise. And then, it is easy to get annoyed with our bodies when it presents a symptom….”oh no this is the worst time for a headache, I have to be at my child’s piano recital tonight”, or “this rash is so embarrassing, how could it show up at this time”, or “this knee pain is so aggravating, why won’t my body heal already”.
A quick answer is to take painkillers, antihistamines, or corticosteroids to quiet the symptom so we can continue on with our busy lives, looking at the symptom as an annoyance that is interfering with our life. Sometimes we just ignore the symptom completely, hoping it will just go away on its own.
However, considering the innate wisdom of the human body and how it performs so many functions on a daily basis without a conscious thought on our behalf, we should consider what our body is trying to communicate to us with this symptom. While occasional use of drugs to quiet a symptom is fine, if a symptom continues to resurface, it is important to look deeper at what is going on. What is your body trying to tell you?
Naturopathic Medicine is a holistic system of medicine that considers all levels of health: physical, mental and emotional. One of the principles behind this medicine is that the body knows how to heal itself, and any symptom is a sign that there is an obstacle that the body cannot overcome to heal itself. Once this obstacle is removed, the body can heal itself and the symptom will go away. On the other hand, if the symptom is ignored, the body will amplify its symptoms until they can no longer be ignored. The headaches will become more frequent and more severe. The rash will spread or become more intense. The knee pain will continue to interfere with daily function and the pain will intensify.
So what kind of obstacles could the body be facing? It could be as simple as a nutrient deficiency (and sometimes it really is this simple!). It could also be a food sensitivity, high stress levels (this is a huge contributing factor for so many health conditions), inadequate sleep, poor diet or a lack of exercise. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I am trained in viewing the body as a whole in order to determine not only how to remove these obstacles, but also how to optimize your health. Who doesn’t want more energy, better sleep, better stress management and better moods?
Respecting the innate wisdom of your body and listening to the symptoms it is giving you, and addressing the symptoms rather than covering them up, allows us to maintain our health and get closer to optimal health. This in turn allows us to keep up with our busy schedules, perform our best at work, and be the best parent, child, or friend that we can be.
We have one body and it should be our temple. Nourish it with good quality food, enough sleep, adequate exercise, and when it gives you a symptom, respect your body’s innate wisdom. Find the cause of that symptom and treat it accordingly, rather than just covering it up.
Good health is a major factor in being able to achieve our life goals and live our lives to our greatest potential, so remember to respect the innate wisdom of your body!
Dr. Ramona Charikar BScH,ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine