Side Effects

Television, radio and the print media are saturated with advertisements for medications. Each comes with a list of cautions and side effects. We are not going to discuss this type of side effect.

Most people try alternative treatments when they have a problem or issue and have given up on the medications and surgeons. Often they turn to the alternatives when the “main stream” solutions have had devastating side effects. The natural treatments normally have no adverse side effects, but the often do have beneficial side effect.

Many years ago we started to use Native American spirit flutes. We, like many people, find them to be very calming. At the end of a busy day, playing the flute calms and restores us.

There are several side effects, or side benefits, to playing the flute. One of the most obvious is that playing the flute is a great lung exercise. It helps to increase lung capacity.

Others are less obvious. Playing the flute in our yard we had neighbors coming from blocks away, following the sound. At events, we are asked to play the flute at the drumming ceremonies. The flute reaches out and brings community.

Many of the natural products are taken for one purpose and have other beneficial side effects. The most basic natural product that is taken is water. Most weight control diets specify that water needs to be taken as part of the diet.

An increase in water intake will reduce or eliminate dehydration. Carbonated drinks, alcohol, many herbal teas, coffee and other drinks that contain caffeine are diuretics, cause dehydration. Headaches, Charley horses and many other symptoms are associated with dehydration.

Exercise is another of the natural treatments that many people take. It has a great number of side effects. Although the health of the cardiovascular system or weight loss are the reason most people start exercising, exercise increases the energy level, better than Red Bull or coffee. The increase of energy that comes from exercise continues while the energy drinks only last for an hour or two. The roller-coaster ride of the sugar and caffeine reduces the bodies ability to regulate itself.

Exercise also tones the muscles. Exercise along with re-hydration tightens the skin. The side effect is that the person who exercises usually looks younger and acts younger. With exercise and water movement becomes easier and more fluid.

Many years ago there was a comic who was very overweight. She walked onto the stage of one of the talk shows. The host looked at her walking onto stage and, as soon as she sat down, said "Have you lost weight." She responded "No, I walk thin." He stammered for a few seconds and them asked her what she was talking about. She then got up walked off stage, turned around and waddled back onto the stage and flopped into the chair. His eyes grow wide because she look twenty pounds heavier by waddling, as many "fat" people do instead of walking in as a thin person.

Exercise and re-hydration help people move more smoothly. In the first days of most exercise programs, muscles are built and muscle is heavier than fat cells. In the beginning of an exercise program the weight may go up and yet the better deportment will allow the person to look thinner. Many of the people who start on an exercise program over-exercise. Being in pain causes stiff motions or limping. Neither helps the way the person looks when they walk.

We love licorice tea, more for the flavor than anything else. As an herb licorice has long been valued as a demulcent (soothing, coating agent) and expectorant (rids phlegm and mucous from the respiratory tract) and continues to be used by health care professionals today to relieve respiratory ailments (such as allergies, bronchitis, colds, sore throats, and tuberculosis), stomach problems (including heartburn from reflux), inflammatory disorders, skin diseases, stress relief, and liver problems. It has a strange side effect. After drinking licorice tea, even with no sweetener, everything else tastes sweeter. The licorice stimulates the taste receptors in the tongue. That is how it got the name sweet root.

Home cooked meals are often taken as a method of better nutrition. Most processed foods add one seasoning to increase the flavor. As we all know, profits and not health drive the food company's decisions. So they use the cheapest additive that increases the flavor, salt. In home cooking the amount of salt is usually much less. Likewise, when people stop drinking pop and bottled fruit juices and start to drink water and use a juice extractor, the amount of sugar or artificial sweeteners are reduced. High blood pressure and regulating blood sugar (diabetes or hypoglycemia) are more easily regulated. After weeks of having foods with reasonable levels of salt and sugar the processed foods start to taste like salt or sugar and the other flavor fade by contrast. Real food taste much better than processed food, after just a few weeks, and it is hard to go back.

When a person starts to meditate, the calm that shows in the face helps to calm others. The calm from others helps the person who meditates stay calm. Meditation lasts longer than medication and helps the person who takes it and also the people around.

This type of side effect can be easily tested. Go to any store and keep a smile on your face. When you are at the checkout counter talk pleasantly to the clerk, do not hold up the line. Watch the reaction of the people. The clerk will start to smile and the next person in line will smile back at the clerk. Next time try a frown. Like the smile the frown will continue. It is much nicer to go around in a world of smiles than a world of frowns.

The better you feel the easier it is to smile. The more you smile the more those around you will smile. The more they smile the better they will feel. The better they feel the better you will feel and the more you smile the better the world becomes.

Here are some of the alternative treatments that have large beneficial side effects: walks in the wood, holding a child, watching a bird, listening to a brook, eating a fresh piece of fruit, etc. You might want to make up a list of your favorite alternatives. Then list the side effects that you see or hear or taste for each of these.

Side effects should be beneficial. If the side effects are detrimental than new treatments are needed to offset the side effects. If the side effects are beneficial than other treatments can be set aside.

Your goal should be to return your body, mind and spirit to a natural state of health. You should, without thought, be self regulating. Let all of your side effects be beneficial to yourself and those you come in contact with. In that way we all have a hand in healing the world.



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