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Many are turning to simple self-care practices in order to promote their own health. // Illustration by Julia Vreeman

By Phoenix Skye

With the fear of contracting any sickness looming over the heads of Western students, one student is using alternative methods to improve her daily wellness. 

Nasseba Ahmed is a second-year Western student that has found solace in her routine.

Ahmed says that her daily routine starts off by waking up at the same time every morning, drinking a liter of water with lemon and honey, stretching, then usually a morning run before she has breakfast and starts her day. She takes multivitamins at breakfast and drinks apple cider vinegar at lunch and makes time to do at least 10 minutes of meditation a day. 

Ahmed's day ends with a set bedtime. At this point, Ahmed said she doesn't even need to set her alarm clock. 

“Once you get set into the routine your body adapts to it after a few weeks and it gets easy,” Ahmed said. “I feel alive and glowing every day. I have extra energy that I can put into studying or being social.”

The World Naturopathic Federation’s founding principle is, “Vis medicatrix naturae.” The concept, which has been credited by scholars to the Greek physician Hippocrates, means that often the human body can heal itself when left alone. 

The idea is that by treating the body as a fully connected system, you can improve all aspects of your health by reinforcing the already healthy parts of your body. According to  The World Naturopathy Federation, you can set a baseline by practicing a healthy circadian rhythm cycle, exercising regularly, homeopathy, aromatherapy, meditation and a selective diet and nutrient intake. 

The World Naturopath Foundation said that after three weeks of setting your routine, the baseline will be set and your naturopath can then identify the areas of your system that need specific attention and will create an individualized plan. Naturopaths are a specific type of MD, and do have to go to medical school to get licensed. Their focus is on a holistic approach to a patient's entire system.

While there are many who champion the benefits of a naturopathic routine, there are some who remain skeptical about the practice. One of these skeptics is Charles Barnhart, a Western energy studies professor, who hosts the science skeptic podcast, “Science Sort Of.” 

Barnhart and his co-hosts discuss and debunk so-called “soft sciences” on their podcast. When it comes to naturopathy, Barnhart said he is sympathetic but not completely sold.

“Certainly there is benefit in having a healthy routine but there isn’t any evidence to support that naturopathic practices can heal most or any diseases. The practice improves your body’s ability to resist pathogens but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go to a real doctor when you get sick,” Barnhart said. “There is also a healthy amount of bull associated with naturopathy. It’s a mixed bag of usefulness and quackery.”

Homeopathy is the treatment of a disease through strictly natural means, and though elements of it are present, it is not the same as naturopathy, Dr. Carrie Wine said.

Wine is a Bellingham based naturopath who said she is constantly having to explain the difference between naturopathy and homeopathy to her friends, clients and family. Wine said that naturopathy is a broad practice that can take several different approaches to a patient. Homeopathy is a specific type of treatment that Wine said she may choose to try with a patient, but isn't a necessarily mandatory component of naturopathy.

“Homeopathy is a medical system that treats patients based on their unique symptoms. The patient describes their symptoms, maybe they’re having a headache, and their homeopath gives them a unique dosage of a carefully selected natural medicine to treat said headache,” Wine said.

Wine said that she actually prefers to prescribe her patients Chinese herbal medicines when homeopathy is on the table. She says that European homeopathy is a diluted form of Chinese medicine, so why not go straight to the source.

Even with skeptics raising an eyebrow to some aspects of the naturopathic practice, it cannot be denied that a healthy daily routine does have benefits to your productivity.


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