Naturopathy’ or ‘natural medicine’ is a largely pseudoscientific approach said to ‘assist nature’ that is ‘support the body’s own innate capacity to achieve optimal health’ and ‘facilitate the body’s inherent healing mechanisms’.
Naturopathic medicine is very safe, natural therapy with services of different alternative therapies. The age old philosophy of naturopathic medicine is based on six important principles which have their roots is Indian [Ayurveda], Chinese [Traditional Chinese medicine], Native American and Greek [Hippocratic] cultures.
The following are the six principles of naturopathic therapy.
1- The healing power of nature naturopathy is basically the body’s inherent ability to treat itself
2- Identify and treat the cause naturopathy believes in finding the underlying cause rather than eliminating it
3- First do no harm naturopathy uses methods and medicines to reduce the further harmful effects
4- Doctor as a teacher naturopathy educates patients and emphasizes self responsibility
5- Treat the whole person naturopathy treats all aspects of body that is physical, mental, emotional and spiritual
6- Prevention is better than cure naturopathy prevents the formation of disease into more severe condition
Although acne seems to be a disorder of skin oil glands, naturopathic philosophy is best suited for diagnosis and treatment of acne.
Naturopathic diagnosis is the best approach for identification of acne and this could be attributed to the following beneficial reasons
– It will help the patient to identify the cause of acne and also help in specific treatment for acne symptoms
– It will help in revealing the underlying conditions that impede body’s ability to function normally
– It will help to determine the proper assessment tools which are most helpful in establishing a treatment strategy specific to patient’s health
– It will help to identify and treat the underlying root cause of acne and avoid further damages to skin
– It will be a comprehensive treatment plan with range of complementary and alternative therapies.
A naturopathic doctor or health care provider will take a complete history of the patient that includes skin care, cosmetic use, diet, factors triggering flare-ups, medications used, occupational and environmental exposures, prior treatment and an examination of the face, chest and other blemishes, lesions and scars. This assessment is oriented towards the determining what is impeding patients body’s ability to function normally.
As far as naturopathic treatment for acne is concerned, from a naturopathic view point acne is an external manifestation of an internal imbalance. Nutrition is the key to treating acne. In 420 BC Hippocrates, the father of medicine said let food be your medicine and medicine be your food’.
The poor quality foods eaten by an individual clogs the pores and attracts bacteria however with consumption of better quality foods the sebaceous glands get all of the nutrients and are bound to produce good quality oil which flows well and nourishes the skin.
In nutrition, a high protein, low carbohydrate diet including vegetables, sea weeds, fish (salmon, sardines, and trouts), whole grains, sprouts and fruits is advisable and avoiding all fried foods, dairy products, processed foods, junk foods, sugar, margarine, nut butters, citrus except [lemon juice] and caffeine is suggested.
In addition, consumption of plenty of water everyday is beneficial; water helps in retaining moisture of the skin keeping it full, fresh and youthful.
Thus, by changing our diet and adopting a healthy lifestyle we can often change or reverse course of illness and restore our health. Thus, the possible lifestyle changes to treat acne in addition to eating diet high in raw vegetables and fruits and avoiding all forms of sugar, alcohol, butter, caffeine, cheese, chocolate, cocoa, cream, fat, margarine, processed food, and drinking plenty of water, beneficiary dietary supplements are also required. The beneficiary dietary supplements are
Alpha-sterol helps open blocked pores
Tea Tree oil is a natural antibiotic and antiseptic. Tea tree oil contains antimicrobial substance that will eliminate [Propionibacterium acnes] the causative bacterial strain of acne, thus reducing inflammation associated with skin.
Vitamin B3- improves circulation to surface of skin.
Acidophilus Probiotics helps replenish natural good body bacteria.
Chromium Picolinate reduces skin infections
Colloidal Silver is natural antibiotic can be applied topically or taken internally.
Starting from diet and clinical nutrition, naturopathic treatment covers a myriad of healing practices including
Herbal medicine once naturopathic doctor has diagnosed the lifestyle and dietary factors aggravating acne, they will decide on combination of herbs specific to acne caused and symptoms. Nevertheless, ayurvedic formulations using herbal extracts of plants like Bhavprakasha Nigantu and Charak Samhita have been found successful in treating acne.
Acupuncture Auricular [acupuncture applied to the ear] and electro acupuncture therapies reducing symptoms of acne.
Homeopathy There have been few studies on effective homeopathic remedies. Usually acne based treatments depend on homeopath’s knowledge and clinical experience and also patients physical, emotional and intellectual make up.
Mind or Body medicine Emotional stress can worsen acne therefore relaxation therapies such as hypnosis, biofeedback together with cognitive imagery improve acne symptoms.
Though relaxation using hypnosis an individual becomes relaxed and this positive approach influences the activity of hormones and the immune system contributing to reduced inflammation of acne.
Biofeedback is a technique in which an individual is trained to control certain internal bodily processes that normally occur involuntarily such as hear rate [measured by an EKG] and muscle tension [measured by an EMG].
Guided imagery involves formation of mental pictures to promote a variety of favorable physical and emotional effects. This combination of biofeedback and cognitive imagery allows the person to visualize and understand bodily changes when he or she changes form being tense to being relaxed.
Hydrotherapy is the use of water to treat acne and maintain health. Colon cleansing using hydrotherapy is the alternative medicine that has improved the conditions of acne. Many practitioners feel that overall bodily health is achieved once colon is clean and free from toxins.
Physical therapy covering photodynamic therapy and ultrasound Both techniques are safe and painless and its duration varies with the severity of acne.
Photodynamic therapy is improving treatment of acne, using a topical medication called aminolevulinic acid which is effective and ultrasound technique is used to calm and soothe red, inflamed skin, enhancing the healing process.
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