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“But I’ve always eaten those foods so they can’t possibly be causing my asthma to kick up again!” Having difficulty breathing was nothing new for Joshua; the 26-year-old had first been diagnosed with asthma when he was 10. Like others with asthma, Joshua’s symptoms were under control most of the time until something “sets it off”.
Unfortunately, everyone who has a chronic disease has times when they are doing better and times when their suffering increases dramatically. The key is to find what triggers those times of an exacerbation (a.k.a. “flare-up”) and avoid or heal those triggers.
Know Your Triggers
What makes your symptoms worse? When looking for triggers, look at ALL aspects of your life, including:
**Foods and Drinks: keep a log of EVERYTHING you eat and drink during the day. For example, if you had a hotdog and fries at lunch, note the type of hot dog, who made the bun, any condiments you included, and who made the fries. It is possible that the ketchup on the hotdog was a trigger, not the hotdog itself. Adding this extra information will really help when it comes time to analyze the diet looking for patterns.
**Emotions: strong emotions usually trigger symptoms in those with chronic diseases. For example: if a child has not studied well for an exam, he might develop wheezing due to his or her anxiety of not being prepared.
**Thought Processes: people often think of thought processes and emotions as the same thing, but they are very distinct. A thought process is similar to what you say to yourself when in a given situation, such as “I’ll never be good enough” or “I hate my job.” Our choices based on our thought processes and perceptions often impact the responses we make to any situation; emotions tend to follow the thought.
**Environment: look at time of day, seasons, weather patterns (i.e. snow, humidity, etc.), moon cycles, and temperature. Also look at your city’s air and water quality, especially if you have a lung or sinus condition or skin disorder.
**General Things: what else do you react to? Your shampoo, cotton clothing, sad movies, too much noise, being alone, etc.? A client had asthma attacks every night after brushing her teeth-it turned out that the trigger was the tea tree oil in her toothpaste.
A common misconception regarding triggers for a flare-up of a chronic condition is that if you never reacted to it before, you won’t be reacting to it today. There are several reasons why a person may seem to suddenly react to something that was not a cause before; here are the main 2 reasons:
**A Weaker Vital Force: this is the main reason for new triggers to occur. As a person continues to suppress their symptoms through medical means or ignoring them, a person’s body weakens, thus allowing more diseases to occur. Those with allergies, for example, often start with having allergy symptoms from one or 2 items; as they age, they start adding more foods or such to their list of things that cause reactions.
**Genetic Modifications: many commercially-grown plants have been subject to changing of their genetic structure through introduction of DNA from other plants or animals. For example: as fish never develop mold (unless they are not alive), fish DNA is often introduced into plant seeds to cause the plants to not develop mold. If a person is allergic to fish, they may suddenly have an allergic reaction to, for example, tomatoes or corn treated with DNA whereas they never had a reaction before to tomatoes or corn.
How Often Do You Have Symptoms?
If your health is in a very good space, even with taking medical drugs to manage a condition and you experience flare-ups of your condition here or there, it would be a lot easier to determine the triggers. All you’d have to do is look for the common patterns, such as wheezing every time you eat peanuts. Avoid the peanuts, avoid the wheezing.
But if you suffer from a chronic disease that plagues you daily, whether or not you take medical drugs, it becomes more complicated to find what causes your troubles. The key here is to look at what you do every day. What do you eat or drink every day? What do you feel emotionally every day? Do you live in a city with poor air quality? And the list goes on.
A young client, age 7, had at least 2 colds per month during the school season, and 3-4 during the summer months. Her mother felt all the colds were caused by the child being in school. Had it only been 1 child that experienced these symptoms, then it might’ve been a weakness in the child’s Vital Force. However, all 7 of the family members had the same number of colds at the same time. One can blame the school only to a point in this case, as the average healthy child has only 3-4 colds per year, and a healthy adult has 1-2 colds per year.
As all members of the family were ill too many times each year, a look at what was weakening everyone’s Vital Force on a daily basis had to be found. Some of the common “stressors” to the body for a whole family are: mold (such as in a basement), new carpet or paint, a change in family members, dysfunctional family (creating a high stress situation), or something in their environment and diet.
At first the mother was not forth-coming about anything related to the family; but it was later revealed that they lived a couple of blocks from a metal fabricating company that blackened the side of the house that faced the company; there was also a new baby in the family, but the frequent time of illness were occurring before the birth of the baby so that probably wasn’t a factor. As time progressed, it was discovered that the family lived in a dictator-type structure with the husband/ father “laying down the law” and everyone had to follow the “law.” A situation such as this often causes great emotional and mental stress for all family members. This kind of stress can weaken a person’s ability to resist infections-hence, frequent illnesses. Add to that poor air quality (from the factory). I drove through the town in an effort to see if the factory’s pollution may’ve been a factor in the family’s recurrent illness; within a few minutes of being in the town, I began to sneeze and feel generally miserable.
Once you find your triggers and make adjustments in your life, the number of times of flare-ups or suffering episodes will diminish. But the tendency to have those flare-ups will remain until the Vital Force can be re-balanced. This is one of the areas where Homeopathy saves the day. When the tendency to have the flare-ups is removed, there usually will be no further exacerbations or flare-ups of the condition.
Doesn’t that sound great??
What is Unique to You?
An “acute” illness or injury is one that occurs suddenly. The person can usually remember the culprit, such as a twisted ankle that occurred from playing basketball or a virus that was contracted from the other kids in school. The illness or injury usually has a general set of time before complete healing will occur, unless suppressed through chemical means.
For the purpose of this discussion, I will use the acute condition of food poisoning, also called “stomach flu,” as it is a condition that many people have experienced at some time in their lives. The symptoms of the illness are pretty standard for anyone with some form of food poisoning: nausea with or without vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain and/or cramps. Although all these symptoms may not be present with all cases of stomach flu, most of them will be.
Although physical symptoms are looked at more closely with acute illnesses than with chronic ones, the Homeopath will still look at how the symptoms are unique to you verses the others in your family that may have the same condition.
For example: You may have nausea only if you drink cold beverages whereas your son may have continuous nausea and vomiting only if he eats any sweets. The symptom of nausea is the same for both people, but the indicated remedy will often be different based on the person’s individual characteristics of the nausea.
If you do not often have nausea or other symptoms of food poisoning but have them now, then the set of symptoms presented will indicate that a change has taken place and that the body’s healing wisdom (the Vital Force) is being challenged, hence you have the symptoms appearing to indicate this. Had you no symptoms, then the Vital Force would not be challenged.
Emotional changes due to an illness are often noticed more-so in young children and animals. Emotional changes are often seen prior to the physical symptoms presenting themselves. For example, a child might cry throughout the night when usually she sleeps soundly. The next day, she may pull on her ear indicating she has pain and/or an ear infection. The emotional changes (the crying) came first, before the physical symptoms (pulling on her ear) began.
Adults rarely make the connection between a change in their emotional state and the sign of an illness that is taking hold. Until I studied Homeopathy, I believed that the irritability and anger I felt a few days before the onset of an illness was not an indicator of a challenge to the physical body-I had thought the irritability may’ve caused the illness because strong emotions can weaken the immune system. But once I studied Homeopathy, I learned that the change in emotions represented the challenge to the Vital Force and if I had intervened at the time of the emotional change with the indicated Homeopathic Remedy, the physical symptoms often resolved prior to having them or the healing time was shortened.
Mental symptoms are often overlooked as well by adults; and often children do not understand them either. One of the best indicators of a mental change when the Vital Force is being challenged is a change in sleep and/or dreams. I also like to include a change of energy in this section as well.
An example: if your dreams usually are peaceful but then you have strange dreams or nightmares, they are an indication that a challenge has occurred. Bernie Siegel often talked of dreams in his books as a message from the sub-consciousness; he mentioned that dreams indicate the direction of treatment. I have seen this in both acute and chronic conditions, especially when I learned the indicated Remedy in my dreams-either for myself or a family member.
“A Stitch in Time… “
Using the old statement: “A stitch in time saves nine” where a sewing stitch in a small hole today would save you having to stitch a bigger hole later, Homeopathy applies here too, just a little different.
If you notice the emotional and mental changes and take the indicated Homeopathic Remedy, the physical symptoms of a disease often either does not occur or are greatly diminished. This occurs especially during times of the flu (Influenza) when Oscillococcinum (Oscillo) will help the best. If taken at the first sign of the impending flu, the length of time physical symptoms of the flu will be present will be shortened (to about 3 days), and the intensity of that flu will be a lot less. If you waited to take Oscillo later in the course of the flu, then you may get very little or no relief from the Oscillo.
How Do I Know the Indicated Remedy?
Fortunately with acute-use Homeopathic Remedies, there is little “work” to finding the right one. For acute ailments, most remedies have a common usage, such as Arsenicum album for food poisoning, or Oscillococcinum for the flu.
Acute-use Remedies often help 99% of those who have a given symptom. At times, even combination remedies are effective. Although Classical Homeopathy focuses on true healing with one remedy at a time, when used for acute symptoms, combination remedies can be effective and often do not harm the Vital Force.
Once a person learns of the symptoms that a Homeopathic Remedy helps with, it’ll make all the difference!
Chemical Drugs vs. Natural Medicines
With most acute illnesses and injuries, the body will heal itself and the Vital Force (healing ability) becomes stronger after the illness occurs UNLESS it is not allowed to do its job. When a person is medicated with chemicals during an acute illness, the length of healing time is longer and the person often has residual symptoms that either take a long time to go away or they don’t go away, thus leaving the Vital Force in a weakened state and open to being “attacked” again.
An exception to this “rule” that I have found is the use of pain medications for pain (not for fever). As a twisted ankle is, well, far away than the brain or spinal column nerves-the places where pain drugs work-the ankle can heal without that healing being suppressed. However, if the pain medications keep you from knowing your ankle isn’t fully healed, you can still re-injure or prolong healing time should you walk on the injured ankle before it is fully healed.
When a chemical drug is taken during an illness that triggers an immune system response, the immune system will stop its healing to assist the body in removing the drug (which is more harmful to the Vital Force than the “bug” that triggered the healing response). When a distracted immune system is not holding the infecting agent back, the agent has time to spread and move deeper into the body-hence longer healing time and more intensity or the increased risk of developing pneumonia with sinus infections or such.
Some of the common longer-lasting conditions after a virus are suppressed by chemical drugs:
* Shingles-often occurs when the Chicken Pox Virus is suppressed
* Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-the Vital Force was weakened and didn’t recover
* Chronic Infections
* Pneumonia-a virus or bacterium gets deep into the lungs
* Herpes and Cold Sores
* And the list goes on and on…
Accidents and ailments occur to even the most-healthiest of people. When something new strikes, listen and learn, then reach for the right Homeopathic Remedy. When the illness or injury resolves itself through natural means, the body will be stronger and healthier.
Homeopathy doesn’t suppress-it heals.
Disclaimer: The information provided by Dr. Ronda Behnke Theys is for educational purposes only. It is important that you not make health decisions or stop any medication without first consulting your personal physician or health care provider.