The Important Role of Inflammation
When dealing with inflammation, we often think of taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen, but there are many natural ways to reduce inflammation, from nutrition to herbs and to even aligning your posture!
While we often talk about lowering “inflammation,” it’s is an important response by the immune system to injuries in any part of the body, as well as a way to signal the healing process or repair damaged tissues.
Another important action of the inflammatory process is to prevent infection and aid the body in defending itself against various foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses.
When Inflammation Goes Wrong
While inflammation is an important part of the body in supporting our body through injuries and avoiding infections, when the process takes longer or inflammation occurs at the wrong time, it becomes problematic.
Acute inflammation occurs during injury or infection, while chronic, low lying levels of inflammation have been linked to a few diseases such as stroke, heart disease and may also cause auto-immune disorders.
“When there is chronic inflammation, it’s important to understand the causes and not only take medications to suppress the immune response, as long-term use can have many side effects, says Dr. Sarah Bennett, a naturopathic physician at Natural Med Doc.
Addressing Inflammation Through Naturopathic Medicine
If you are suffering from certain chronic inflammatory conditions, it is important to find safe, effective and natural methods to address the problem other than medications.
A naturopathic doctor is a doctor who looks for the root cause of illness and combines modern scientific medical practices with traditional and natural forms of treatment such as nutrition, botanical medicine or physical medicine.
Some ways that Naturopathic doctors aim to address inflammation and pain is through proper body alignment, nutrition and anti-inflammatory supplements, which can support the body’s natural healing processes.
Reducing Inflammation Through Proper Alignment
Proper alignment is key in helping to minimize inflammation, as having poor body alignment causes strain and tension on muscles and tendons, as well as impinging nerves and decreasing circulation.
Over time, continued poor posture can lead to inflammation and pain, such as in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or low back pain, which is often addressed through medications such as Tylenol or Advil.
Natural ways to address poor posture and improve inflammation is through performing stretches and exercises, as well as doing yoga, which can help to improve posture long term.
A Nutrition Based Approach to Reducing Inflammation
When looking to address inflammation, naturopathic doctors often provide their patients with nutritional guidelines as healthy foods can provide nutrients such as antioxidants, which reduce inflammation or educate their patients in removing food sensitivities that can cause more inflammation.
A whole foods diet – one that is full of fruits, vegetables, low in refined carbohydrates, low in saturated fat and low in added or processed sugar – is a diet that is often recommended to help reduce inflammation.
Another diet that is often recommended is the anti-inflammatory diet, which incorporates lots of anti-inflammatory vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, fruits, whole grains, fatty fish, plant-based proteins, fresh herbs, and spices as well.
There are many nutritional recommendations made by naturopathic doctors to help address inflammation such as the Anti-inflammatory diet, or the Whole Foods diet, which aims to provide nutrients that can help to fight inflammation.
Natural Supplements that Help Minimize Inflammation
Naturopathic doctors often rely on natural supplements as they not only reduce inflammation but can also prevent an inflammatory process as well (such as Curcumin) with an added benefit of having minimal side effects.
Many of the herbs and supplements with anti-inflammatory properties such as ginger, fish oil, garlic, and turmeric exert their effect through modulating the body’s immune system response and reducing inflammatory chemicals in the body.
When supplementing, it’s best to seek the advice of a healthcare professional or naturopathic doctor, as while it can provide a safe and effective means of reducing inflammation, some supplements can interact with medications or may not be appropriate for you.
If you’re looking for natural and effective ways to minimize inflammation, having a naturopathic doctor on your team can help you explore different options than medications alone.
Effective naturopathic treatments for reducing inflammation are through improving posture and alignment, addressing inflammation through nutrition, and if appropriate, taking supplements that can help to reduce the body’s immune response.