Symptoms are your body's way of communicating

                                        Honey is antimicrobial & a natural demulcent for lingering coughs

                                       Honey is antimicrobial & a natural demulcent for lingering coughs

When I was a child, I was led to believe that symptoms were bad & that I needed to get rid of the symptoms as quick as possible in order to restore my health. As a naturopathic physician, my outlook on symptoms has changed. I believe without symptoms, it would be difficult to understand what is wrong & where in someone's body there is imbalance. Symptoms are the body's way of communicating to us. In fact, symptoms are simply a call for attention.

As a naturopath I now see that the symptoms are not what need fixing rather understanding. Suppressing symptoms is like suppressing one of the only communication lines between you & your body. So why would you want to do that? Well, in most cases you wouldn't!

I was talking to a friend who recently had her wisdom teeth removed. She was explaining that one of her wisdom teeth was near a nerve root & hence her dentist suggested local anesthesia vs. general anesthesia so that she could experience 'symptoms' of nerve damage if it were to occur. My friend was not happy about the possibility of things going awry but this very example illustrates that without symptoms it would be very difficult to know if something went wrong during the removal of her wisdom teeth.

In fact, without symptoms, doctors wouldn't be able to make many diagnoses today. Even though lab testing is on the rise, most diagnosing begins with a symptom history. So, then why are we trying to remove or suppress these symptoms? Because they are uncomfortable? I am not sure we'd know if something was wrong if our symptoms were pleasant (*chuckle*), right?

What do common symptoms say about our internal terrain? Cough for example is our body's way of expectorating and/or protecting our respiratory system from bacteria or an irritant. Therefore, though an acute cough may be miserable to have for a few days, it is necessary! 

It is important to note that some acute or chronic symptoms may need 'temporary quieting' after we know what is wrong in order for our bodies to heal. 

So let's try to understand our symptoms first the next time we get sick instead of resorting to suppressing them as quickly as possible before we even know what is wrong!