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The Power of Environmental Medicine in Promoting Overall Well-being

Written by Portland Clinic of Natural Health on December 22, 2023

Environmental medicine plays a crucial role in enhancing overall well-being. This branch of medicine focuses on how environmental factors impact health, including exposure to pollutants, chemicals, and other toxins. It emphasizes the importance of a clean and healthy environment as a foundation for good health.

Identify and Mitigate Environmental Factors for Overall Better Health

At the Portland Clinic of Natural Health, our approach to environmental medicine involves identifying and mitigating environmental factors that may be contributing to our patients' health issues. By understanding the complex interactions between the environment and individual health, we can develop personalized treatment plans. These plans often include dietary adjustments, lifestyle changes, and natural therapies designed to reduce exposure to harmful substances and bolster the body's natural healing abilities.

Chronic Daily Exposure Can Add to Total Toxic Body Burden

For instance, we look at how daily exposure to household chemicals might be affecting a patient's health, leading to chronic conditions like migraines or hormonal imbalances. Another example is addressing air quality issues in the home or workplace, which can significantly impact respiratory conditions like asthma. We also examine dietary exposures – for example, the impact of pesticide residues on food and how switching to organic produce can alleviate certain health issues.

Understanding the Role of Environmental Factors in Chronic Health Conditions

Environmental factors are increasingly recognized as antecedents, triggers, and mediators of chronic health issues. They can influence the underlying root causes of disease, often involving inflammation, toxicity, deficiency, and mitochondrial insufficiency. For example, prolonged exposure to environmental toxins can trigger inflammatory responses or contribute to nutritional deficiencies. Similarly, poor air quality might exacerbate mitochondrial dysfunction, a key factor in chronic fatigue syndrome.

Naturopathic doctors at the Portland Clinic of Natural Health assess these factors through a comprehensive approach. They consider the patient’s environment, lifestyle, and personal history to identify potential triggers and mediators of health issues. By supporting the body's vital force – its innate capacity for healing and balance – naturopathic treatments aim to restore health at the root level. This includes personalized interventions that may involve dietary modifications, detoxification strategies, and lifestyle changes to reduce exposure to harmful environmental factors and strengthen the body’s natural defenses.

Foster Long-Term Health and Prevention with Environmental Medicine

By addressing environmental factors, we not only treat existing health conditions but also foster long-term health and prevention. This holistic approach underscores the importance of a harmonious relationship between our bodies and the environment in achieving optimal health and well-being.

Resources:

  1. Kersh FW, Frank AL. Environmental awareness among physicians: what are environmental health and environmental medicine? Tex Med. 1999 Oct;95(10):39-44. PMID: 10531804.
  2. Gehle KS, Crawford JL, Hatcher MT. Integrating environmental health into medical education. Am J Prev Med. 2011 Oct;41(4 Suppl 3):S296-301. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.06.007. PMID: 21961679.

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