Health Tip #11: Inflammation – Causes, Diseases and Natural Treatments
The body responds to trauma or infection via inflammation, as it is fundamental in healing. However, if this mechanism becomes chronic, the immune system is constantly activated and deviates into a disease process. When people have inflammation it is most often painful, or they may feel stiffness or discomfort depending on their condition.
Various diseases are inflammatory such as asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, Grave’s disease, lupus, and Celiac disease. In general, any condition that ends in “itis” indicates inflammation, such as arthritis, gingivitis, bronchitis, tendonitis, dermatitis (eczema, psoriasis), bursitis, otitis (ear infection), sinusitis, etc. Other conditions have a chronic inflammatory factor as well including heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer.
Many things can contribute to inflammation including a diet low in fibre and high in sugar, pesticides, mold inhalation, a lack of adequate exercise, dehydration, insomnia, food sensitivities, environmental allergies and stress.
Foods that increase inflammation include gluten-rich grains (wheat, oats, barley, spelt, kamut, rye), processed meat (hot dogs, cold cuts, sausage, canned meat), dairy food (milk, cheese, cream, butter, yogurt, ice cream), nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers), soda pop, alcohol, coffee, tea, MSG, and sugar.
Naturopathic medicine has many modalities that are effective at decreasing inflammation and pain, such as botanical medicine, homeopathy and Chinese medicine consisting of acupuncture and Eastern herbs.
Chinese medicine is a complete medical system that has diagnosed, treated and prevented illness for over 2500 years. There is a general view that everything contains Yin and Yang within it. It is this harmony of Yin and Yang that is optimal health, whereas disease occurs when there is disharmony between them.
Illness is understood as a consequence of either a depletion or congestion of Qi or the vital force within the body. For example, Liver Qi Stagnation results in symptoms of inflammation, pain, and irritability. The goal of acupuncture treatment is to adjust the Yin and Yang by regulating Qi.
For more information on naturopathic approaches to inflammatory issues or other ailments check out my website at www.vitalforcenaturopathic.ca