An exploration of an emergent ethos
In this series of posts, we will explain the ground from which emerges the values and ethos that drives and sustains the NaturalMedicine community on Steem. This is the basis on which choices are made for creating and curating #naturalmedicine content. It draws on the models found in natural systems to create and establish creative, thriving, sustainable communities. As a whole, it forms a manifesto that the community draws on for inspiration, discussion, and inter-personal discovery.
To begin with, we need to define what we are talking about, and throughout this series, this term will be used in a number of different ways and contexts.
Firstly, and most obviously, there is the NaturalMedicine Community which formed on the Steem blockchain. It focuses around the @naturalmedicine account which primarily curates content related to the idea. The main hub where people gather around this is the NaturalMedicine chat server which is free for anyone to join and participate in — https://discord.gg/ZjZAAdH. When referring specifically to the community, the term will be presented as NaturalMedicine.
This is a community of people who are interested in and passionate about any number of activities, hobbies, professions, and ideas that come under the umbrella of the concept of 'natural medicine’. Some people come to learn about the ideas as they venture into this way of life; others are arriving with a range of experiences and knowledge to share and promote.
As a concept, ‘natural medicine’ is the idea that prevention and treatment of disease and illness is possible using natural means. It does not presuppose that pharmaceutical methods are dangerous or undesirable or do not work. However, the focus of discussion is not about mainstream medical procedures or interventions, it is about the possible natural methods available, either as alternatives, or as complements.
The idea of ‘medicine’ is somewhat more varied than what many believe.
The Greek word φαρμακο, from which we get the etymological root pharma-, can mean any substance which could either heal or poison. When studying Pharmacology, we learn that in certain circumstances, a medicine can become a poison, and understanding this comes down to understanding the pharmacological actions of substances on the body (pharmacodynamics) and how the body adapts to the presence of such substances (pharmacokinetics). Indeed, one person’s medicine can be another person’s poison!
This is the common, modern understanding of the word, and so in the ‘natural medicine’ context we usually think about things such as herbs, and even foods as the medicinal substances. However, with Systems Theory and Holistic Theory we can now understand that the idea of ‘medicine’ can be extended to include anything which has the capacity to assist an individual prevent and/or treat disease and illness. This idea will be discussed in greater detail in [an upcoming part].
For now it is sufficient to understand that this is not therefore limited to herbal medicines and nutritional medicine; this can include physical therapies such as acupuncture, massage, myotherapy, or even physiotherapy. It can include psychological therapies such as psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, counselling, meditation, and life-coaching. It can include embodiment practices such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, and Tantric Sexuality. It might extend to lifestyle practices which promote resilience and independence from mass consumption and industry, considering the earth as a valuable resource for health and wellbeing. This might extend to permaculture, biodynamic farming, wildcrafting and other practices that encourage interaction with natural landscapes in order to produce and collect the resources that can supplement and nourish the individual, their families and extended communities.
In the next post, we are going to look further into this, by exploring the idea of ‘natural’ and what we mean by it, and then we will put the two together to understand what we mean by the term ‘natural medicine’.
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