Ounce of Prevention | Heal yourself naturally
Ancient healing traditions refer to the five elements of nature: air, water, fire, wood and earth. They explained that our health depended on the balancing influence of all these elements. Modern scientific research shows that mankind could benefit greatly from applying this principle. Let's review how we may use these readily available, natural elements to heal disease and promote optimal health.
Humans, like most animals, are totally dependent on oxygen from the air for survival and health. I have written extensively in the past on the power and importance of breathing as it relates to health. Clean, fresh air and the use of simple breathing techniques are powerful tools to enhance many bodily functions while providing several mental and psychological benefits as well. Yoga practitioners have long pioneered the use of the breath for healing and well-being.
About two-thirds of the human body is water. Again I have often emphasised the importance of the use of water both internally and externally (hydrotherapy) for maintaining health and preventing and treating disease. Varying degrees of underhydration is probably the commonest nutritional imbalance in humans. Just to remind you: Ideally, aim at consuming half ounce of water per pound of body weight daily. So someone weighing 160lb should consume 80 ounces of water from pure water, other fluids and water-rich foods.
The term fire in this context refers to sunshine, and a deficiency in sunshine is indeed injurious to health. Humans convert cholesterol in their skin cells into vitamin D when their skin is directly exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Vitamin D is extremely important to health as it acts not just as a vitamin but also as a powerful hormonal regulator in the body. Several common disorders like diabetes, hypertension, depression, circulatory disorders, breast and prostate cancer, uterine fibroids, depression and degenerative bone and joint diseases are negatively influenced by vitamin D deficiency.
It is particularly significant that dark-skinned people are more prone to a lack of vitamin D as the more pigmented the skin is the more sun exposure is needed in order to make vitamin D. Researchers in the US and the UK have estimated that more than 90 per cent of their black residents are vitamin D deficient. My own research suggests that surprisingly high levels of vitamin D deficiency exists here in Jamaica.
Exposure to sunlight also had a powerful influence on several important biorhythms called circadian rhythms. An imbalance in these delicate cycles can greatly disturb hormone production and immune system activity.
This can be taken to symbolise the vegetation that grows on the planet. Much is being said about the wanton destruction of our forest, the cutting down of trees and its awful impact on the planet. Global warming, extreme changes in weather patterns, the extinction of many plant and animal species are just a few examples of this.
On an individual level, many authorities concur that a predominantly plant-based diet provides superior health benefits in comparison with a diet mostly based on foods from animal sources. The amount of fruit, vegetables and edible herbs you consume daily can significantly influence your health. Five to nine servings of fresh fruit and vegetables per day have now become a standard dietary recommendation by such conservative sources as the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetic Association.
Famous physicians, Dr Mehmet Oz and Dr Joseph Mercola, have been on national television in the US discussing the health benefits of human beings making direct connection to the Earth (Earthing). Earthing, also known as grounding, refers to being in contact with the Earth's surface by walking outdoors barefoot, or when indoors using a conductive device that transfers energy from the Earth into the body.
Scientific research validates the concept that a vast blanket of electrons covers the Earth's surface. These electrons can on contact be transmitted into the human body where they act as powerful neutralisers of free radicals, the agents responsible for many disease processes.
Investigations show that when the body is grounded, its electrical potential equalises with the Earth's electrical potential through a transfer of electrons from the Earth to the body. Nobel Prize winner Dr Richard Feynman has explained that when the body potential is the same as the Earth's electric potential (when grounded), it becomes an extension of the entire electrical system of the Earth. The Earth's huge potential thus becomes an active agent that neutralises, reduces, or repels unhealthy electrical fields from the body. This is particularly relevant in today's world as we are now constantly exposed to electromagnetic radiation from the various electrical gadgets in our homes and workplaces.
Earthing can induce many bodily changes of great importance to your health. The list includes reduced pain and inflammation, better sleep, and a shift in the autonomic nervous system of the body from sympathetic (flight or fight) to parasympathetic (rest and digest). It has a blood-thinning effect that rivals that of aspirin and other potentially dangerous blood-thinning drugs. Earthing also promotes a stable heart rate and decreases muscle tension.
Researchers believe that regular earthing may improve high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat, as well as autoimmune conditions like lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. These benefits have been observed by simply going barefoot for as little as 30 or 40 minutes daily. This research is presented in an interesting new book titled Earthing.
The take-home message is simple: Modern science supports the view that simple lifestyle activities like earthing (grounding) the human body, along with sunshine, clean air and water, nutritious food, and physical activity may be a very effective natural way to a healthier life.