(NaturalNews) Continuing with our 15-day self-healing series, today we're going to shift focus inward. This chapter on self-healing is about learning how to listen to your body and understand what it's really trying to tell you.
In medicine, the word "symptoms" is thrown around as if it were something bad. Doctors talk about the "symptoms of disease" and then they prescribe chemicals to suppress those symptoms. If you have pain, they prescribe painkillers. If you have high blood pressure, they prescribe chemicals to artificially lower blood pressure.
This practice of detecting and then suppressing symptoms is called "mainstream medicine."
But what if that entire approach were wrong? What if symptoms were gifts rather than curses? What if the messages they were sending actually contained important information about your health?
That's exactly what you're about to learn here (if you don't already know this, that is): Symptoms are messengers... cries for help from your body. And learning how to listen to those messages rather than suppressing them may be the key to unlocking your greatest health potential.
Medications dull your body and mind
Conventional medical doctors have been trained that symptoms are things to be suppressed, negated or destroyed. These doctors don't consider symptoms to be a holistic part of your healing experience, but that's in fact exactly what they are.
If you sprain your ankle playing frisbee, for example, your body sends you a pain message. This message contains important information: "This tissue is injured. Do not use it until it is repaired." If you heed the message, you will allow your ankle time to heal. Once it's healed and safe to use again, the pain will disappear. It is now safe to put weight on your ankle again.
In this context, pain is an intelligent regulator of your activities. It can direct you to avoid further injury. But pain killers dull the pain and artificially block the pain messages. They allow you to keep playing on an injured ankle to the point where you are likely to cause further injury, resulting in even more suffering and perhaps permanent damage that cannot be healed.
That's why pain is something to be listened to, not ignored. But pain isn't the only messenger you'll want to pay attention to...
What your skin and nails are telling you
Your skin is also a messenger. What's happening with your skin is a reflection of what's happening with your internal organs. If you have acne on your face, for example, you have much the same thing happening in your digestive tract. Facial acne is a sign to clean up your diet, eliminate all animal products for a while (dairy, meat, etc.) and detox with a plant-based diet.
If your skin is dry, itchy or flaky, it's a sure sign that you're deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and possibly some other key vitamins or nutrients. Increase your intake of omega-3s through fish oils, marine oils or plant-based sources like chia seeds, and add superfoods to your diet to cover any vitamin deficiencies you may have.
Your fingernails can tell a lot about your health, too: Misshapen or discolored fingernails point to chronic nutritional deficiencies in minerals and certain vitamins. If your fingernails have ridges, cracking, discoloration or any other symptoms, get yourself to a naturopathic physician right away. Fingernails, you see, indicate what's going on with the rest of your body because your nails are, of course, grown out of your body. If you have nutritional deficiencies or chronic organ problems, they will be revealed in your nails.
Your tongue can tell a wealth about your health, too. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners use tongue diagnosis (and pulse diagnosis) to assess symptoms and clues about what's happening with your internal organ health. Tongue diagnosis is remarkably accurate: A tongue that's discolored, has a layer of mucous, has deep ridges on the sides or other non-healthy characteristics directly indicates problems with your liver, kidneys, heart, lungs or digestive tract.
If you're curious about this, seek out a TCM practitioner for a tongue and pulse diagnosis. Sadly, American TCM practitioners have a watered-down approach where they are afraid to offer any medical diagnosis for fear of being arrested by state medical authorities, but in China, an experienced TCM practitioner can tell you more about your health from a simple diagnosis than you would typically learn from an MRI.
What goes in must come out
To pay even closer attention to your body's symptoms, observe what's coming out of your body:
• Do you have body odor? If so, your diet is unclean. Too much milk, butter and meat.
• Does your breath smell bad? Same problem: Unclean diet or poor digestive health.
• Are your stools too hard, too soft or not healthy looking? Check with a naturopath -- the health of your stools indicates the health of your digestion.
• Does your urine smell strange? It will after eating asparagus, of course, but normally your urine should not have an offensive odor. If it does, go visit a naturopathic physician for some advice.
• Are you hyperventilating at times? It may be a sign of consuming a diet that's too acidic. Or could also mean pre-diabetes. Check with a naturopath.
What comes out of your body, you see, is a very accurate indication of what's going on inside your body. Did you know that physicians actually used to taste the urine of patients? They could diagnose disease just from tasting the urine.
Of course, these days mainstream doctors don't taste your urine anymore. Instead, they give you expensive urine by pumping you full of HRT drugs, psych meds and other expensive pharmaceuticals that you pee down the drain while you're literally flushing your money away.
Listen to your cravings
Your body will also tell you what it wants through cravings. These are little subconscious messengers that direct you to eat something your body needs. Most people, however, misinterpret those cravings and end up eating something bad for their health instead of what the body actually craves.
For example, if your body craves salt -- real salt, not the processed sodium found in junk foods -- you may feel an urge to eat a salty snack food. But that urge is often just a craving for full-spectrum salt. Try eating some fresh nuts dusted with full-spectrum sea salt and see if that takes care of your craving.
Cravings for chocolate may often be just your body crying out for magnesium. Your body sends you the message, "Eat more magnesium!" but your conscious mind mistakenly thinks you just need more chocolate. The problem is that most of the processed, store-bought chocolate on the market today is overly processed and has little or no magnesium left in it. Buy real chocolate if you want it to contain the minerals it's supposed to.
Is your body crying out for water?
Dehydration can cause all sorts of symptoms that are often misdiagnosed as other diseases. Chronic dehydration can appear as all the following symptoms or diseases: Asthma, high blood pressure, hunger, kidney disorders, heart problems and constipation.
Drinking more water on a regular basis (and avoiding dehydrating beverages such as sodas) can solve these underlying problems, and you may actually see many of those symptoms vanish within a few days, weeks or months.
What's beneath the symptom?
If you do go see a regular mainstream doctor, you may in fact receive a quite useful diagnosis of specific symptoms. Western doctors are quite good at determining what's wrong with you on a superficial level even if they have no idea about underlying causes.
So if you receive a diagnosis from a western doctor, you can often take that diagnosis home and do something useful with it. For example, if your doctor says you have high blood pressure and recommends you start taking toxic blood pressure drugs, the best thing you can do for your health is tear up the prescription, go seek a naturopathic physician and ask what you can do to resolve the underlying causes of high blood pressure rather than trying to artificially medicate yourself with chemicals.
Chances are, you have various nutritional deficiencies (lack of omega-3s, often), combined with dehydration and poor dietary choices. Correcting those three things will often resolve blood pressure symptoms. Of course, your specific case may be different, so be sure to check with your naturopathic physician about what's best for you.
Use the symptom as information
Never be tricked into taking a medication that masks the symptom. Use the symptom as a clue to look for root causes that can be corrected through more holistic, natural means. This is how you can listen to your body and interpret its messages in useful ways that lead you in the direction of health.
It takes no intelligence whatsoever to mask symptoms with medications. Any fool can accomplish that by popping pills, much to the delight of pharmacies and drug companies. But an intelligent, mature person will listen to their body's many messages (symptoms) and learn from them to discover what's really going on with their health.
Masking symptoms, in other words, is a childish, adolescent approach to medicine. But listening and learning from symptoms in order to take a more holistic approach to health is characteristic of an intelligent adult. Which approach will you decide to take?