Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Jennifer Ellison-Brown | Healing agents of nature

Published:Wednesday | August 10, 2016 | 8:00 AM
People getting nature's treatment at the Bath mineral spring in St Thomas.

The use of natural medicine to heal the body is not a new discovery. In fact, the healing properties of water were known by the Romans, who built many spas.

Medicinal plants, and vegetables, have been used to heal since ancient times. The same applies to clay and mud, sunlight, the sea, the climate and other natural agents.

Their use has been surrounded by an aura of mystery and until recent times, they were applied empirically and routinely without any real knowledge of why or how they benefited the human body.

Today, many people still prescribe these agents or recommend their use without even understanding how they work. The healing power of these natural agents has constantly been reviewed through practice, which has long been considered the spiritual dimension, in the sense that natural agents and living beings comes from the Creator.

Dr Ernst Schnieder, in his book Healthy by Nature, stated that by incorporating these natural resources into our lifestyle we will begin a complete health-preservation plan which involves preventing diseases, remedies to assist healthy processes and health restoration.

Some of these natural agents and their uses are as follows:

 

Water and Earth

 

Hydrotherapy (health through water). Water stimulates the skin in several different ways and has being used throughout the ages and cultures as a preventative and curative remedy by the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, to name a few. Hydrotherapy treatments increase the vitality of the body so that it can protect itself against diseases. When properly applied (thermal action, mechanical action and chemical action), hydrotherapy is very effective for functional cardiovascular complaints and weak blood flow to the skin, depressive states and nervous disorders, and post-operative convalescence periods.

Thalassotherapy (health through sea bath): The therapeutic effects of sea bath is determined by the temperature of the water, the length of time the body is submerged, the amount of mineral contents and the movement of the individual. Sea baths stimulate the circulation and respiratory functions, thus improving oxygenation of the blood and the rest of the body. Sea baths, especially in cold water, increases the amount of calories expended by the body and the amount of calcium absorbed in the exposure to sunlight.

Geotherapy (health through the use of soils). This is based on the use of soil as a curative and therapeutic element. Soil (clay and mud) has been used as a cure from as long as the Middle Ages to fight against the 'Black Death', and some were considered to have curative powers. Nowadays, doctors and geologists have carried out investigations that explain the physical and chemical properties of medicinal earth and their ability to cure. These medicinal earths contain magnesium carbonate, calcium carbonate, iron and aluminium hydroxide. Clay and mud treatments are widely used as therapy for various health reasons today.

Aerotherapy(health through the air). Only air that has the lowest number of contaminants and dust particles can allow our respiratory organs to work as they should and guarantee that all the cells in the body received the oxygen they need. Therefore, it is important to spend time in the countryside or up in the mountains, where the air is unpolluted and is of great benefit to health.

Our good health depends first and foremost on breathing correctly and maintaining the exact proportion between the gases found in the air. Incorrect or deficient respiration is sometimes as a result of shallow respiration and insufficient ventilation in enclosed spaces, which leads to decreased oxygen levels and increased carbon dioxide (CO2) and contaminants in the atmosphere. As a physiochemical agent, air can act on the body as a whole through the body's surface. The action of aerotherapy is similar to hydrotherapy: it strengthens the surface of the skin, stimulates the internal organs and tones the nervous system.

 

The Sun

 

Heliotherapy (health through the sun). The importance of the healing powers of the sun was well known in ancient times and was defined as a source of light and health and in some cases, considered as king of the gods. In the 20th Century, microbiology gave heliotherapy a major boost. Studying the effects of sunlight on bacteria and other microorganisms shows how diffused light curbs their development, while direct sunlight destroys them completely.

Today, heliotherapy is an effective medical treatment that has been fully recognised by the world scientific community. Sunbaths are recommended for various disorders, as well as it stimulates cell immunity, which increases the body's ability to adapt and defend itself against infections. It prompts metabolism and promotes the production of vitamin D.