Healing Naturally

With four-fifths of my household now sniffly and sneezy (sparing me for now), it got me to thinking about my natural parenting progression, particularly my shift over the years from relying on conventional methods to treat illness to adopting more natural approaches. When my oldest was little(r), I would quickly reach for Tylenol or Motrin and call the pediatrician.

I learned over time this simple truth: the body has a miraculous power to heal itself of common illness if we let it. Now, while making every effort through good nutrition, hygiene, and lots of outside time to prevent illness, I allow my little ones to heal themselves naturally when the inevitable winter cold virus emerges. I do my part to aid their fierce immune systems with lots of fluid, warm tea and good honey, smoothies and soup, quiet days at home, and an abundance of snuggles. And I avoid using products that could potentially interfere with the body's own natural defense and immune mechanisms.

In his classic book, How to Raise A Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor, pediatrician Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD, asserts: "Because most childhood illnesses respond to normal bodily defenses that may be impeded by medical treatment, use of your natural skills is usually preferable to those of a doctor in giving your child the help he needs. Moreover, you will play the principal role in helping your child avoid illnesses by providing the wholesome nutrition he needs and by making certain that he avoids the foods he shouldn't have."

The simple and powerful notion, espoused by Hippocrates, to "let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food," really resonated with me. I began to reclaim control over my family's overall health and well-being through good nutrition and natural remedies for common ailments, and abandoned our traditional pediatric practice for a more holistic family medicine practice that was better aligned with our family's health needs.

Certainly there are times when a doctor's advice or a hospital's intervention may be valuable-- life-saving even--but more often than not, we moms can manage common childhood ailments naturally with classic home remedies, time, and lots of TLC. It's time we start trusting ourselves more, trusting our powerful maternal instincts, and trusting nature's wisdom in helping us to heal.