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Part 4: Keeping Your Child Healthy  >  The Role of Nature Cure in Child Care


Guest Article – Dr. Anand Gokani

Dr. Anand Gokani is a Consulting Physician and a Diabetologist, who believes in allowing Nature to cure.

The phrase “Allowing Nature to cure” is perhaps more appropriate than ‘Nature Cure’; because actually it is Nature that cures — we may just be able to assist the process. 

An objective look at all the diseases that afflict children shows us that a large number of them are self-limiting, e.g. colds, coughs, flu-like fevers, diarrhoea, constipation, other viral fevers like mumps, measles, chickenpox, etc. They are called ‘self-limiting’ because Nature launches an all-out effort to recover from the disease as soon as it sets in. In most circumstances, we need only to assist the natural recovery process in order to effect a quick recovery.

Consider this example: A 5-year-old boy goes out for dinner with his family. They go to a popular restaurant and enjoy a rich meal. The child overeats, comes home and complains of fullness of the abdomen. A while later, he complains of a strong urge to vomit. He does vomit after a while and brings out undigested food that smells strongly acidic. The parents panic, and contact the doctor late in the night. The doctor prescribes a medication on the phone to stop the vomiting. The child is given this medication after which the vomiting does stop. The next morning, the child gets diarrhoea, for which he is given some more medication. The diarrhoea stops, but the child then has severe abdominal discomfort, refuses food, and develops a fever. Now he is really sick... He receives more medication, tests are done... After some days of anxiety and concern, the child recovers but has lost some weight, is cranky and weak and has no appetite.

This is an exaggerated story of what happens in every home with a child. Children are prone to overeat on occasions such as these. Often, the food may be stale or pungent, which makes it toxic to the child’s system. Sometimes, overeating and indigestion lead to the fermentation of the food, and toxins are produced as by-products. The body recognises this as a threat to health and triggers a rejection mechanism in the form of vomiting — the shortest way out. When this avenue of escape is blocked — with medication — the next avenue of escape is sought. This causes diarrhoea. When this avenue is also blocked — again with medication — the toxins gain entry into the blood stream where they weaken the immune system and allow viral or bacterial infections to supervene. When there is a viral or bacterial infection in the body, the third line of defence — fever — springs into action.

How Could We Have Assisted Nature To Heal The Child In The Above Case?
Following the bout of overeating, the child felt like vomiting. This is Nature’s mechanism of throwing toxic substances out of the body. With a little reassurance, the child could have been coaxed into drinking water which would allow for easy vomiting. Two or three vomits would have rid the body of all the toxic matter and the child would have slept peacefully and would have probably been completely well in the morning.

In order to rid the body of poison, the body needs a vehicle, and the best vehicle is water. Hence, adequate water at frequent intervals helps the body to carry out its detoxifying functions very efficiently. Of course, if the symptoms persist or the look of the child  causes anxiety, you must get in touch with your doctor.

How Nature Cures
The principle of Nature Cure is that all diseases of the body are caused by the presence of unwanted toxic substances in the body (toxemia) and simultaneously because of the absence of useful substances in the body (deficiency). Hence, the logical treatment of such a condition is to remove the poisonous substances from the body and to supply all the vital substances to it.

Nature has equipped us with the necessary tools to heal from disease. We have been endowed with three major instincts, namely thirst, hunger and fatigue. If we can sharpen our ability to recognise these instincts and act upon them, we have already set the healing process into motion. For instance, when the child is sick, he loses his appetite (so he stops eating conventional food), he feels tired (so he rests), but he feels thirsty, so he drinks water. Often, the child may be feeling so sick that he/she loses the awareness of thirst or may have such marked nausea or aversion for food and drink that even drinking water is avoided. In such circumstances, parental intervention is required and gentle firmness could go a long way to prevent the disease from being prolonged. (However, in the case of severe nausea and vomiting associated with fever, abdominal pain and distention, the child should not be forced to drink fluids and a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.)

Water facilitates the detoxification process. Once the poisons have left the body, the appetite for food returns and he starts accepting food, which goes to replenish his body and restore his health, strength and vigour.

Hence, in order to cure disease, one has to remove the toxins and replace the vital substances. This understanding helps us to assist Nature in performing the task effectively and restoring health.

Nature Cure is a gentle, sure and effective way to heal in most cases, but there are occasions when, along with the natural means, one requires the help of medications. Medications, in such circumstances, are necessary only in small doses and for a shorter duration. The means available to us in Nature Cure are diverse and all-pervading. They are available everywhere and they are almost free of cost. Hence Nature Cure can be used by anyone at any time.

The means are Sunshine, Water, Air, Earth, Fire and a host of combinations thereof:

— Sunshine provides warmth to the body and triggers the release of its hormones. It is vital for the maintenance of good health. In Nature Cure, sunbathing has been given a lot of importance in restoring health. The best time for sunbathing is the early part of the morning or the latter part of the evening when the sun’s rays are warm but not as harsh as the mid-day sun.

— Water is one of the best cleansing agents and hence is the most important tool in healing from any sickness.

  • Bathing in water, cold and warm sponges.

  • Drinking enough water.

  • Enemas are a very useful adjunct in internal cleansing. However, some precautions are necessary. An enema should never be given by an inexperienced person. It must not be given when intestinal obstruction is suspected or if there is a suspicion of an intestinal infection. Enema should not be given in high fever such as seen in typhoid fever. It should never be given with hot water. The temperature should be the same as room temperature. Forceful introduction of the enema tube could cause very serious damage.

  • Whirlpool baths, jacuzzis and hipbaths are some of the other uses of water in Nature Cure.

Air is of paramount importance in healing. Breathing exercises and physical exercise are good ways to optimise our air intake. The ability to breathe correctly helps in providing the body with adequate oxygen that is so necessary to heal from disease. Yogic breathing exercises help to train children to breathe correctly and also provide an impetus for enhanced lung function. Yoga is an extremely versatile science that could augment the physical, mental and spiritual growth of a child. However, these exercises should be done under supervision.

— Earth is used directly in the form of mudpacks and indirectly by cultivating it for all our various fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, sprout brans and other foods. 

— Fire
is used to create warmth and also helps to cook our food to make it easier to digest. 

All these elements are used alone or in varying combinations to provide the basis for optimum healing.

Toxemia And Deficiency
The key words are toxemia and deficiency. They cause disease.

Toxemia is caused by toxic foods — like the excessive use of white sugar, refined salt, refined wheat (maida) — and all products made with these, including cakes, chocolates, icecream, pastries and sweets, salted snacks, bakery products and other confectionery. Fried foods, spicy foods, alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee also contribute to the spread of toxins in the body.

Additionally, in the presence of constipation, toxins are produced by fermentation in the intestines. 

Deficiency is produced by using refined foods, e.g. refined wheat, white sugar and salt, tea, coffee and highly cooked food. Food cooked in the microwave oven is both toxic and deficient. (If you use a microwave oven, do check the temperature of the food or milk before you use it. The food can be too hot for the child even if the container or the feeding bottle feels cool to the touch — The author).

Detoxification And Replenishment

Detoxification and replenishment heal disease. 

Detoxification is done by the optimum use of water and foods like fruits, vegetables, coconut water, honey and whole grains.

Replenishment is carried out through food that detoxifies, water, earth, fire, sunshine and air.

Help Nature Help You
Nature cures, Nature cares, but the condition it lays down for us is that it works only if we work and live in accordance with its laws.

Acting in accordance with the laws of Nature not only helps one to keep healthy but also helps to heal in sickness. There are times when medications are necessary, times when some permanent damage has occurred, or times when the load of infection or poison is overpowering the body and time is precious. In such circumstances, medications, drugs, and surgery have proved life saving. If, along with medical treatment, the principles of Nature Cure are employed, the quality of health accrued is far better than when Natural laws are flaunted completely.

The important thing is that Nature Cure is not an exclusive science. It is all-encompassing. It can work in conjunction with Ayurveda, Homoeopathy, Allopathy or any other science of healing. What’s more, at times, it works even in spite of these sciences. 

7 March, 2016

Part 4
Keeping Your Child Healthy
Choosing A Paediatrician
Proper Use of Medicines
Home Remedies
A First Aid Kit
The A-Z of Childhood Illnesses
Psychological Concerns
Managing A Hospital Stay
Prayer And Your Child's Health
The Role of Nature Cure
Ayurveda and Child Care
Congenital Heart Disease FAQ
Guide to Child Care
1 Pregnancy, Childbirth ...
2 The Growing Years
3 Feeding Infants, ...
4 Keeping Your Child Healthy
5 Keeping Your Child Happy
About Dr. R. K. Anand

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