What is old is new again

We all know that most things in life occur in repeating cycles: fashion, food, music and we see it in medicine also.

As a naturopathic student over 28 years ago, we were trained that suppressing a mild to moderate fever was against the nature of the body. Fevers are a result of the body’s defense system to kill off bacteria and viruses and when this process is suppressed, a more prolonged illness may result. So, I was not surprised by a news item late January of this year that stated that taking over the counter flu medication to reduce fevers increases the transmission of the flu viruses to others. By avoiding taking ibuprofen, acetaminophen and acetylsalicylic acid, a person can reduce the overall size of the flu epidemic. The article goes on to say that fevers actually help lower the amount of virus in the sick person’s body which means that taking medication for fever makes the person with the flu sicker too!

What do you do when you have a fever and feel “lousy?” In my practice I have great success with Sanum and other homeopathic regimens as well as a natural “antibiotic” 10 day protocol. These work  by supporting the body’s innate immune response to combat both viruses and bacteria.

Another thing that is coming back in vogue is “dirt” or the “microbiome.” It turns out that when humans are exposed to a wide variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi and allergens their immune systems are stronger. It is well known now that children in third world countries have very little asthma, hay fever or eczema. Children in developed countries who grow up in homes with pets are also less likely to develop allergies. The microbiome is the vast community of good bacteria and viruses that live in and on the body and weigh roughly 10 pounds. When the immune system is constantly stimulated with these “microbiomes” it stays primed and ready for action. If these triggers are mostly removed from the environment or there is too much emphasis on “clean” the immune system goes to sleep.

Naturopathic physicians recommend optimizing the microbiome by taking probiotics on a constant basis and as well as playing in dirt.

Speaking of playing in the dirt, adults do this when they garden.

They are also grounding themselves and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.

The modern term is called “Earthing” but the naturopathic term is “nature cure.” This is the walking outside with your feet in the grass, or walking on a forest, sea or mountain trail and direct exposure to sunlight.

All of these are now well known to stimulate the immune system and have a calming effect on the body to aid in sleep and relaxation. Sunlight stimulates natural vitamin D production on the skin at the right time of day and year.

During the winter taking a hot Epsom salt bath is also very grounding. Keeping electronics out of the bedroom is a very important component in allowing the body more complete rest. Camping and sleeping on the ground is the ultimate.

This leads me to the third news item regarding the ideal hospital room that accelerates the healing process.

The ideal hospital room not only has all the equipment required for optimal medical care but also is sound proof, has lots of natural light, a view of the outdoors as well as a sink near the door so everyone coming and going can wash their hands regularly.

Knowing that 22 Canadians die every day from hospital-acquired infections makes hand washing imperative to reduce this statistic.

I was very impressed by the CEO Mr. Musyj at Windsor Regional Hospital, Ontario. In the Fifth Estate documentary that aired last year, Rate My Hospital, he dresses in scrubs to determine the behind the scenes requirements of his hospital to “provide outstanding care, no exceptions” and 100 per cent accountability.

Naturopathic medicine is in the business of keeping you out of hospitals and if you do end up having to use them, your immune system will be primed to better handle the stress encountered there.

It is comforting to know that my training of 28 years ago still holds true today!


Dr. Ingrid Pincott, Naturopathic Physician, has been practicing since 1985 and can be reached at 250-286-3655 or



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