The concept of the inner healer is strong in ancient and traditional medicine philosophies, though it may go under a range of different names. For example, it is known as "vitality" in naturopathic principles, "chi" in TCM and "prana" in Vedic practices.
Universally, it is a fundamental acknowledgement of the innate intelligence that is an active and powerful communication and rebalancing mechanism, synchronised within every organ, every cell and every molecule of this wonderous piece of flesh that we call the human body.
Often contrary to what we may be feeling at the time of our illness, our inner healer wants us to be well. Its primary aim and purpose is to rebalance our cells, keep us functional and upright (read here - alive!) and moves us constantly towards a state of health. Sounds like something in a sci-fi movie, right?!
What is meant by an inner healer?
Let's take a moment to be reminded of the workings of our inner healer.
Our inner healer is active when:
- We come in contact with an invading pathogen or infection. This triggers off an immune response that includes temperature changes to destroy the invading microbe, extra mucous in our respiratory system to help us cough and sneeze out what shouldn't be there, and an increase in digestive movement and squeezing (up or out and sometimes both!) to help us eliminate something unwelcome in the gut.
- We break or fracture a bone or cut our skin and it fuses back together.
- We sprain our ankle. Swelling arrives almost immediately to stabilise the joint, so we limit its use. The area is flooded with bright red blood supply, which brings healing nutrients and inflammatory factors that begin the healing process.
- We come into contact with an irritant and get red blistery skin (which is the body's way of protecting and flushing out toxins from the tissues) and we are reminded that there is danger in our midsts and something requires attention.
- Cells are reproduced that aren't an exact copy of the ones that they were made from, and they appear or function differently. Considering our body produces over 3.8 million new cells every second, that leaves quite an opportunity for occasional slips or mistakes! Instead, a highly sophisticated immune signalling process highlights their activity and actively destroys these deranged cells.
- We receive a pain signal from stepping on something sharp, we are immediately notified that something is wrong and to check for bleeding.
- In times of stress and trauma, in order to remove our physical body from immediate danger, our heart rate and respiritory rate increases. Blood flow is directed away from deep internal organs and out to our brain and limbs so that we can be fast-acting and quick-thinking. Our adrenaline kicks in and we get a rush of superhuman strength. This mechanism is also significantly pain-relieving, so we may not even know of any acute injuries until later.
- In the case of discomfort that arises due to poor posture or limited movement, it is our body's way of signalling to us to move and adjust our position, lest blood flow to vital organs is affected.
These are just some of the infinite ways our body's innate intelligence is at work, guiding and protecting us and instigating ways to make healing happen.
So if we have such powerful mechanisms at play, then why do we get sick? Why do we struggle so much with disease and illness and symptoms that seem to go on longer than they should?
What influences our inner healer and how can it assists us?
There can be many different reasons for this, but from a naturopathic perspective, there can be various factors influencing how effective our inner healer is at resolving dis-ease and bringing back balance.
Some of these factors may include :
- genetic variations
- nutritional deficiencies
- ongoing inflammation that is interfering with proper cell signalling
- accumulated toxins that are disrupting normal regulatory mechanisms
- past trauma, which may present physical, mental and emotional blocks to the body doing what it needs to do to correct itself (because of overt and obvious physical limitations getting in the way or even ingrained learnt behaviours and mental patterns of thinking)
- chronic stress overriding nervous system function which then drives inflammation and disrupts hormone pathways.
Part of my job as a naturopath is understanding these underlying mechanisms and taking on the role of body detective. From a thorough case history and applied functional testing, I can help identify for my presenting client what may be playing a role in blocking the critical functioning of their inner healer, preventing a return to normal balanced health.
When I am working with someone, it is a primary objective to help to connect them with and develop a relationship with their inner healer. When we connect and develop a relationship with something, we understand more deeply how it is helping and serving us; thus we tend to respect it more, take good care of it, and appreciate having it around!
The next time illness and physical dysfunction take hold, we tend perceive it completely differently:
- We begin to welcome fever as a sign of our body working hard to fight off an invader.
- We see acute pain as a temporary state of helping us to adjust what we are doing and coordinate our body so it can be more comfortable.
- We respect that inflammation is a vital part of injury and allow our body the rest and time it needs to repair tissue.
- We learn that skin rashes or increased bowel motion and digestive discomfort may well be a response to an irritant that needs to be avoided for a while, and we can do this by choice because we don't want to harm our body further.
- We develop a practice of dropping into our body during times of elevated heart rate and become aware of our breathing. This allows for a mindful opportunity to decide if the stress we are experiencing is a true danger that we need to run from or if there is something that we can adjust to get ourselves into a state of ease and flow.
Here is something to consider: What if part of the chronic disease and illness process is viewed simply as a temporary disconnection to our inner healer?
A few tips to assist your inner healer
Here are my top tips that may assist you in connecting to, listening better and developing a relationship with this vital part of your physical being:
- First, it is essential to acknowledge the possibility of its existence. It is necessary to allow yourself to accept and understand that there is this genuine underlying physical mechanism. This innate cellular intelligence is a natural and evidenced thing that we are all born with. It is not a skill that needs to be "developed". It is consistently active and engaged even when we are unaware of it. You can do this by exploring health concepts like "homeostasis", reading books on health topics, listening to and subscribing to podcasts or webinars and talks on health-related subjects.
- Engage with holistic health practitioners who can help explain and educate you on the proper care and functioning of the body as a primary form of healthcare that is complimentary to any medical treatment or diagnosis.
- Develop an attitude of gratitude by keeping a journal of your health process. Be on the lookout for and focus your attention on the beautiful looking/tasting/feeling or uplifting and inspiring things you encounter in your day. Keep a log of the surprising things you learn along the way, acknowledging new levels of awareness about yourself. For example, a handwritten diary, downloading and using a tracking or journaling app on your phone, or perhaps starting an online blog. You could also consider sharing your experiences in an online social group with other like-minded people on the same healing journey.
- Use mindfulness-based practices such as creative activities, bush bathing and nature immersions, breathwork and meditation amongst many others you may be drawn to engage with. These can help you develop an acute awareness of what you are experiencing within your body, allowing you to slow down and pay attention to subtleties.
- Give yourself time to "pause" between any action/ reaction to recognise that there is a gift in each moment. This "gift" is aware presence - an opportunity to make an empowered choice and a clear decision before any action is required of you. Whether it is deciding what you would like to eat, what type of healthcare treatment you would like (and whether you turn up to your appointment to receive it!), where you would like to go and what you would like to experience when you get there, who you would like to speak to, what you would like to say, and how you say it. We have a choice in each moment and we get to discern what the most important thing for us in that moment is: whether we keep working, go to bed, move our body or open the fridge! You must be fully present to experience this, so it is vital to have all of your awareness tuned in. You have to be willing to listen to whatever response you receive - because sometimes the answer may surprise you!
These techniques can help you develop a better relationship with and connect to your inner healer.
It is a privilege to guide those that I work with towards connecting with their inner healer, often for the very first time in their lives. Here, there is unlimited healing power and potential and a certain level of trust is developed. This appears as:
- A fundamental trust that your body knows what it is doing.
- More confidence in your intuition about what your body wants and needs.
- An assurance of the healing process that is universal for everyone, and once you learn to recognise it, you can know with more certainty when you are on it, when you fall off it and when you may be blocking in or getting in your own way!
This is where a long, lasting and true relationship with health begins - where "health" is not defined by simply a temporary and artificial suppression of symptoms.
As more and more people are becoming aware of and benefiting from all that holistic and natural therapies have to offer, the connection to your own inner healer must remain at the very centre of your health journey. This allows you more autonomy, empowered choice and certainty in your health process. Without this, natural therapies can be seen as simply a "natural alternative" to drug therapies with fewer side effects with no proper and transformative healing experienced.
Have fun connecting with your inner healer and wishing you the very best of health!
Disclaimer: This Content has been developed from our generous global community and is intended for informational purposes only. This Content is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon. Further, the personal views and experiences published are expressly those of the author, and do not represent the views or endorsement of SoulAdvisor through the act of publication on our site.