man leaning on walking stick on sand, looking at ocean

Nearly two-thirds of all Americans take prescription drugs, with the average person taking four prescription drugs. Prescription drug use has skyrocketed in the last couple of decades. Unfortunately, some medications do more harm than good while others are unnecessary. Typically, pharmaceuticals treat the symptom rather than the root cause and create environmental contamination and waste.

A 2002 study of 139 rivers in 30 states found that 80% contained traces of pharmaceuticals, steroids, and hormones. These drugs can end up in our drinking water. Treated wastewater is commonly used to irrigate food crops, leading to pharmaceutical contamination of cropland. This issue is likely to continue, given a lack of government policies to regulate the pharmaceutical industry’s environmental impact around the world. Although there are many benefits to prescription drugs, there are often undesirable side effects.

Many traditional healing techniques help heal the body without pharmaceuticals. There are many ways to prevent illness and allow our bodies to heal naturally. In many cases, a culmination of approaches promotes overall health. Let’s explore how to get started.

Get Adequate Sleep

Getting enough rest is paramount for healing. Sleep allows our bodies and minds to truly recharge and rejuvenate. Researchers have linked sleep deprivation with numerous ailments including a weakened immune system, obesity, diabetes, mood issues, high blood pressure, memory problems, heart disease, and poor balance.

In 1910, most people slept 9 hours per night. Now, 40% of adults in the United States report getting less than six hours each night. About 30% to 40% of people in the U.S. report experiencing insomnia each year. The trend of inadequate sleep seems to be increasing over time. Although many of us are aware of the importance of sleep, we just don’t get enough of it. Creating a sleep routine, having a positive sleep environment, and avoiding electronics before sleep are all helpful strategies.

Stay Hydrated

Many of us are chronically dehydrated, often without realizing it. Drinking sufficient fluids is crucial for the immune system, detoxification, and overall energy. “Sixty percent of our bodies is composed of water, 75% in our muscles, 85% in our brains, it’s like oil to a machine,” explained Dr. Roberta Lee.

Establishing healthy routines can help us stay hydrated. For example, get in the habit of drinking a glass of water shortly after waking up and 30 minutes before each meal.

Promote Self Care

Many practices help nourish our minds and spirits. Exposure to sunshine, eating a balanced diet, exercise, and fresh air are all helpful for optimum health. Make self-care easy by incorporating healthy behaviors into your daily routine. For example, keep a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in your home so it is easier to eat an abundance of them.

senior couple walking on trail
Exercise, fresh air, and close relationships are helpful for optimal health. Image by Susanne Pälmer from Pixabay

Nourish a Positive Mental State

Because there is a deep connection between the body and mind, there is a psychological component to health. Our emotions and thought patterns contribute to imbalances in the physical body. Attitudes and persistent thoughts can hinder physical healing. This is because different mental states influence biological factors in our bodies.

Positive, uplifting, and inspirational thoughts create harmony in the body. In fact, by helping others, we can also help ourselves on various levels. To improve your mental state, exercise; participate in fulfilling activities such as hobbies; and nourish close relationships with family and friends. Different regenerative activities may resonate with different people. Some people find yoga and meditation restorative while others may prefer walks in nature, socializing, dancing, or playing a musical instrument.

Seek Natural Healers

If you have reached a hurdle in achieving optimum health, there are many providers that can help. Acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathic medicine, creative visualization, physical therapy, massage therapy, spiritual counseling, Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, chiropractic care, and herbal medicine are all options.

For thousands of years, many traditions throughout the world have practiced herbal medicine. Different plants display various properties and are used to create the desired effect. Many healing herbs that we can find in our yards and neighborhood parks can help boost the immune system, treat wounds, or ward off a particular ailment. This approach often involves making teas, salves, poultices, tinctures, powder, or capsules.

It is important to find ways to engage your body’s natural healing abilities. Some techniques and healers will appeal to you more than others. Take the time to find what works best for you.

Feature image by Nathan Cowley from Pexels. This article was originally published on November 26, 2019.

By Sarah Lozanova

Sarah Lozanova is an environmental journalist and copywriter and has worked as a consultant to help large corporations become more sustainable. She is the author of Humane Home: Easy Steps for Sustainable & Green Living, and her renewable energy experience includes residential and commercial solar energy installations. She teaches green business classes to graduate students at Unity College and holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School.