What is Naturopathic Medicine and Why You Should be Practicing it
An Interview with A Naturopathic Medical Student: Brianna Jones
Naturopathic medicine is a huge part of my daily life. As a person living with a chronic illness, naturopathic medicine has become a way for me to take control of my health and live a more productive and fulfilled life. But what is naturopathic medicine and how, if at all, is it connected to our relationship with Christ?
For those questions, I sat down with my good friend and sister in Christ, Brianna Jones, a naturopathic medicine student at National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, IL. We discussed the basics of naturopathic medicine and its links to our relationship with God.
Diamond: Simply put, what is naturopathic medicine?
Brianna: I would have to say naturopathic medicine is modern medicine catching up to the principles of the original form of medicine. It is a form of healthcare that creates and nurtures conditions for the body to do what God created the body to do.It approaches health by: utilizing the least invasive & least toxic therapies, educating patients on how to achieve and maintain health, identifying & treating the root cause, treating the whole person and not just the signs and symptoms, nurturing the God-given ability of the body to heal when given the proper environment, and lastly, always approach the patient with the intention of disease prevention and not just disease management.
One of the primary principles of naturopathic medicine is “doctor as teacher”. The naturopathic doctor should be able to explain to the patient what is going on with their body and how they can become their own best doctor. The profession believes that when appropriate, the least invasive treatment is most optimal—especially in the long run.
Diamond: What are practical ways people can begin to incorporate naturopathic medicine practices into their daily lives?
Brianna: The running joke many of my fellow ND peers have is to start with the basics. So often we want to incorporate so many supplemental modalities but supplemental treatment (to add in addition to) is just that- additional. While supplements, botanical medicine, and iv therapy are helpful modalities, they cannot replace the following fundamentals:
–Stay hydrated. Consuming water is fundamental. Many of the biochemical processes that our body operates on requires water to run optimally.
–Eat healthily. We should be feeding our bodies foods that provide the body with biochemical cofactors that are necessary for biochemical processes to occur, such as breaking down molecules into energy. This could be the vitamin C in citrus fruits, the sulfur in veggies like broccoli, or vitamin A from sweet potatoes.
–Exercise regularly. This keeps our circulatory and lymphatic systems from becoming stagnant. This is important because it ensures cardiovascular health, as well as muscle and bone health. Additionally, it allows our blood and lymphatic system (immune system) to circulate and function properly. Jesus could have easily gotten rides but the Bible recounts Him walking time and time again. I wonder why?
–Mental health. Ensure that the body is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually well. We know that our mind has a direct impact on our biological state. When we look at the leading causes of death we see that stress plays a critical role in triggering these diseases. Stress cues our body to release hormones that were not intended to stay triggered long term. When they say stress kills it’s not an exaggeration, it’s true. So we need to be taking measures to
Diamond: How can someone advocate for themselves if they want to take a more naturopathic route to manage their health conditions?
Brianna: I suggest getting in tune with your body. Listening to your body is key. So often we rely on seeing the signs and symptoms. But by the time we visualize them the illness process is already in motion. When we listen and sense that something isn’t right, then we are able to take precautionary and preventive steps to our healing.
Another way is to know and believe that health is possible. Many of us accept the fate that we are victims of our genetics when in fact, the environment has a greater impact and even influences our genetic expression (epigenetics). This is why eternal life and healing is always paired with faith and belief. That is how powerful it is. We as believers have to stand firm in the knowledge that WHO our faith is in can make THE change that lasts forever. No surrendering to hell and the fear tactics and agenda of the culture or medical industry. Healing and wellness is your portion because of the God you serve. Period.
Diamond: What is the link between the wellness of the physical being and the spiritual being?
Brianna: When we realize that the body possesses a spirit and a soul, we then treat the body with value. It’s also about realizing that God chose to house the spirit and soul within the body and that our spirit & God’s spirit has a physiological impact on the body (vice versa).
When we realize that every biblical principle has a reflective biological concept, and when we recognize that Christ died for our soul (that is housed in a body), then we realize that people dying from preventable diseases really is an attack on the soul and spirit. The connection is inextricable. The enemy doesn’t want our body, he wants our soul but through the body is how he gains access to our soul.
Diamond: How does/can naturopathic medicine support the wellness of our spiritual being?
Brianna: It all goes back to the principles of naturopathic medicine. We are trained to see the person and their body as one whole system- every system is connected. The vascular system supplies the entire body. The endocrine system releases hormones that biologically affects every aspect of our body. Our mental and emotional state impacts our entire body. Our nervous system takes in information, processes it, and allows our body to perform a given output. Our spirit is no different. Our bodies’ physiologically responds to being in God’s presence. Our bodies align when our spirits are aligned with His. When we commune with God via prayer, heart-rate/blood pressure decreases, stress hormone secretion is lessened. When we bring our spirit to the Great Physician, the whole body is brought into a state of healing.
About Brianna: Brianna Jones is in her 2nd year of Naturopathic medical school at National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, IL. She knew she wanted to commit her life to disease prevention through medical literacy by teaching lifestyle wellness and teaching the gospel after witnessing both of her grandparents die from preventable diseases at a young age.
After years of sitting on her gift of merging science and scripture, Brianna recently launched a platform where she shares medical education paired with godly revelation. The platform, The Great Physician’s Daughter, bridges the gap between science and scripture by teaching that science is merely a description of God’s creation. You can find Brianna and her platform, The Great Physician’s Daughter, on Instagram at @ohbriebrie