The modern practice of medicine consists of:

  1. The patient presenting herself with symptoms.
  2. The doctor records the patient’s symptoms.
  3. The doctor does an exam and takes the patient’s medical history to discover other symptoms.
  4. The doctor compares those symptoms with the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, which “condenses all of medical knowledge into 3500 pages” in order to determine (diagnose) the specific disease the patient has. (“Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy,” Wikipedia) (Does anyone else wonder how much nutrition, chiropractic, naturopathic healing, herbal medicine and acupunture is included in those 3500 pages?)
  5. The doctor then treats the disease found in the manual.
  6. Those symptoms either disappear or reduce…although others (called side effects) often appear requiring the entire cycle to be done all over again.
    [Not to mention adverse drug reactions (side effects) are one of the top ten causes of death and illness in the developed world, claiming 100,000 to 218,000 lives a year in the US and costing $30 to $130 billion in the US annually. (“Drug safety: Side effects and mistakes or adverse reactions and deadly errors?” British Columbia Medical Journal, September 2006)

Natural healing consists of:

  1. The patient presenting herself with conditions, such as can’t sleep, no energy, etc.
  2. The alternative healer knows what actions maintain and restore health.
  3. The alternative healer consults with the patient to learn which of those actions are missing.
  4. The alternative healer educates and helps the patient allow her body to heal itself

Unfortunately, natural healing takes longer to recover complete health. This is because disease is a process that goes through several stages before it appears as a diagnosable disease.
Elimination — When the body is first presented with toxic substances that impede the body’s normal function, the body attempts to eliminate them. Such substances could be from normal digestion such as uric acid from digesting meat; a bacterial infection such as strep throat; a bee sting or even pesticides. These would be neutralized by the liver and then eliminated through pooping, peeing, coughing, sweating or exhaling.
Irritation — When the body is overwhelmed by toxins and the normal elimination channels are not sufficient to expel all the toxins as they come in, the body throws additional means of elimination into gear. Such means might include skin rashes, bad breath, diarrhea, etc.
Inflammation— When even the additional means of elimination are overwhelmed and insufficient to handle the toxic load, the body tries to localize the toxins and the resulting location becomes inflamed: red, swollen, hot and painful. Calling it tonsillitis just says the toxins “have taken up residence” in the tonsils; tendonitis says they’ve accumulated in the tendons (the tough white bands at the end of muscles that anchor them to the bones). Fever, from an alternative health point of view, is very favorable as the high temperature kills viruses and bacteria if it is not prevented. A cold is the body’s way of eliminating toxins on a faster, broader scale.
All the above stages are usually quickly resolved and health restored if we catch the problem early and apply remedies to help the body heal itself. However, if they are ignored and the toxic load continues to overwhelm the body, the disease that is now obvious becomes very difficult to cure.
Chronic disease — If the body is prevented, instead of assisted in eliminating toxins, the body attempts to quarantine the toxins by sacrificing a particular organ or system to prevent death. Here, after all three of the preceding stages, we find growths and chronic disease such as ulcers, irritable bowel, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc.
Organ failure, cancer — Unable to reverse the chronic disease(s), the body begins to die.
Naturopathy sees the first three stages of disease as normal body processes to combat the toxic influences on the body. A cold helps to more rapidly detoxify the body with a runny nose and fever. From an alternative health point of view, it should be allowed to run its course. The body is handling the cause of future ill health by rapidly (if unpleasantly) detoxifying. Medicine sees the same cold symptoms and prescribes something to stop the symptoms (the sneezing, runny nose and fever) and therefore doesn’t address the actual cause of the cold.
You might look at “cold/flu season” as as nature attempting to clean out the body following the “holiday season” with its ritual overeating of meat and rich, sweet, alcoholic foods. If this detoxification is prevented, future problems are allowed to grow.