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  • Writer's pictureBrad Johnson

Stop, Rest & Recover

One of the basic tenets of naturopathic medicine is founded on the principle that our bodies have an innate ability to self-regulate, fight illness and restore us to optimum health. What most of us need to do is to get out of the way and let our bodies heal. When we introduce chemicals, pharmaceuticals, or name brand pain relievers to suppress fever, reduce minor aches and pains it may feel like we’re getting better, but our body creates fever for a reason, gives us aches for a reason - it’s trying to say: stop, rest, recover.

I have patients ask me all the time what I recommend to my own family when they start to feel sick. My answer may sound simple, and by nature my recommendations are elegantly simple, but they are also time-tested and give our body the time it needs to recover naturally. In fact, if you could talk to your grandparents or great grandparents many of these approaches were standards to healing naturally hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago. Here goes:

Rest - When your body becomes ill it needs to muster all its resources to combat the illness. There is no medal of honor for muscling through an illness, not at all, all that does is make your body work twice as hard to fight off the sickness and prolong the time it takes to recover. Don’t waste your precious energy by pushing through an illness, it’s important to lean into it and give your body the time and energy to fight. Rest. Rest. Rest.

Liquids/Hydration - There is a good chance you are dehydrated during the best of times but when you start to feel yucky or have a sore throat you may skimp on the water. Your body needs water - not soda, not juice, not coffee, not energy drinks - for basic cell function. If your body lacks water your immune system will not be able to work optimally and chances are your illness will linger longer than necessary. How much water should you drink? I encourage my patients to consume half their body weight in ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 150lbs, then I’d recommend you drink 75 ounces per day - that’s slightly more than four and a half 16oz cups per day. Drink up!

Fever - Why do we have a fever? Our wise bodies know how to fight an illness, so when our body produces a fever it’s to create an unwelcome environment for the “bug”. By taking fever reducing medications you’re teaming up with the “bug”, ensuring you’ll probably stay sick longer than necessary. Allow your body to have a fever. Yes, it’s uncomfortable but it is also essential for the healing of your body. If you become concerned about your temperature or that of your child make sure to reach out to your naturopathic doctor for advice.

Steam - One of the first things we may notice as we’re becoming sick is a runny nose or a stuffy nose. Viruses love a dry nose and nasal cavity and latches on quickly! The mucus helps fight off illness so if your home and workplace is dry it’s easier to get sick. So, when I’m congested (stuffy nose) or when it's dry, I turn to one of the best solutions - Steam! I’ll heat a pot of water to boiling, then pour into a large heavy bowl, put a large towel over my head - lean my face over the hot water bowl, and breathe in the steam. Note of caution - the steaming water is HOT. Be careful. Make sure you can tolerate the hot steam so take a small breath at first, and once you’re fine take deeper breaths, you can continue “steaming” for about 5-10 minutes. Sometimes, I’ll add a drop or two of Eucalyptus essential oil to the hot water (be extra cautious when you take the first breath because it can be shocking to your system). Go easy and stay moist.

Stay warm - When you’re sick or becoming ill it’s important to keep your body warm. Especially if your body is trying to mount a fever, it’s going to be easier if your body isn’t shivering cold. For some folks, aging patients and those with immunocompromised systems mounting a fever may be difficult, if not impossible. Remember a fever is our body’s way to fight off infection and if you can make it easier, then your body will work more efficiently and you’ll feel better faster. Stay Warm Friends!

Has it been a while since you've seen Dr. Jill or are you new to Naturopathic Medicine and want to learn more? Set up an appointment today at


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