Positive Mental Health – A Natural Healing Approach

Having worked therapeutically with people for many years, I have become all too familiar with the “revolving door” syndrome that can occur with people who struggle with mental health issues, particularly when prescription medication becomes the only solution on offer. People tend to go up and down and in and out of that door until it gets to a point where the door is closed, locked and barricaded resulting in a life sentence of pills and more importantly a sense of disempowerment where people become victims of a choice less situation.

Did you know that its estimated that 1 in 5 Irish people are on anti-depressant medication? That is 20% of the population and does no include sleeping medications and anti-anxiety medication such as Xanax & Valium. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate of extremism in any form be it natural or pharmaceutical and there is most certainly a valid place for prescription medication. However, these statistics don’t reflect the number of people with severe, incurable mental health problems who have exhausted all avenues. I believe that a large number of these people have no awareness that there are other avenues to explore, either instead of medication or in conjunction with it.

Well the good new is –


There are however a few basic rules that must be understood –

Rule No. 1 – There is no magic bullet! Herbal medicine does not work this way and it is a dangerous message to send to people that if they take such and such an herb or supplement that they will be “cured”.

Rule No. 2   – If you want to take a natural approach to healing you need to be willing to put in the work on all levels and be prepared to make changes in your life.

Rule No.3 – The mind and body cannot be separated and people need a treatment approach that caters for both. Diet, exercise, herbal medicines, counseling, meditation & stress management practices all contribute to a holistic approach that works.

Herbal medicine is such a rich resource that is untapped when it comes to mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. There are a number of key classifications of herbs that when combined correctly for the individual and accompanied by the aspects outlined above have shown great merit.

3 main classifications are as follows –

Nutritive Herbs: This classification are tonic herbs that can be taken safely over long periods of time to nourish and strengthen the entire system. These herbs form the foundation of any treatment concerning mental health.

Nervine Herbs: This classification directly addresses the nervous system. There are differing aspects of these herbs that need to be matched to the individual and are invaluable in addressing symptoms such as low mood, anxiety and panic attacks and insomnia.

Adaptogenic Herbs: These herbs are once again tonic in nature and support the adrenal glands and therefore the entire endocrine system, balancing hormones increasing resilience to stress and generally strengthening the whole system.

This is a very brief synopsis of some aspects of an herbal approach to mental health difficulties. Natural healing treats the person not the illness so lets remember that every individual is different and unique and this must always be considered. One size does not fit all, but the thing to remember is there are always options!

Hydrotherapy for Natural Healing

The indigenous peoples call it the First Medicine, it’s considered sacred in all the perennial wisdom traditions, being used as a Holy substance for blessing, healing and protection.  The medicinal use of it hails back to the times of Hippocrates, the Father of Modern medicine and has endured in many forms across cultures and through the ages.

Water – The most basic of human needs and rights. We, the privileged minority of humans who are lucky enough to have water delivered to our homes every day, tend to take this for granted. It is only when there are shortages, cut-offs, contamination and oh yes, water charges talked about that we begin to think about water and how essential it is for life as we know it. The use of water as a natural healing tool is something that most people aren’t conscious of and has lost its prominence with the advance of modern medicine. There are many ways to utilize this resource for our health on an ongoing basis as a preventative measure as well as to treat disease and illness.

3 Simple Hydrotherapy Practices to Maintain our Health

1) Hydration – With the best of intentions, many of us fall well below what we need to be drinking in terms of water.  Water is essential for life and the healthy functioning of our bodies. The average adult should be drinking 2 liters of water through the day, more or less.

Tip: To monitor intake, fill a flask, bottle or jug with 2 liters of water in the morning and drink through the day.

2) Hot & Cold Showers – Sounds scary and definitely has a bite to it, but this practice has a hugely positive impact on your health. This practice stimulates your lymphatic system and circulatory system, increasing the body’s ability to cleanse waste, increasing blood flow for healing and boosting your immune system.

Tip: At the end of your morning shower, turn water to cold (yes fully cold!) for 30 seconds, return to hot for 1 minute and try to complete 7 repetitions. 

3) Detox Bath – This feels a little more like a luxurious treat, yet is a powerful treatment for cleansing the body. Once a week, fill a bath as hot as you can manage. Add 2 cups of Epsom salts, 1 cup of baking soda and ½ cup of bentonite clay.

Tip: Have this bath at a time when you can go straight to bed afterwards and have a good night sleep to maximize benefits.

3 Simple Hydrotherapy Practices to Regain our Health

 1) Foot Bath– Not just for relaxing your tired feet, although that in itself is great! The feet are a wonderful gateway for healing to pass into the rest of the body systems. Therefore footbaths can be used to treat everything from varicose veins to the flu to insomnia. Add essential oils or strong herbal infusions to warm basin and soak for 30 minutes, topping up with hot water.

Tip: This is a wonderful way to administer natural treatments, especially for children or the more feeble and elderly. Choose herbs appropriate to condition.

2) Sitz Bath – Sitz baths basically work on the same principles as footbaths, but cater for the rear end! Any mothers out there should know what I’m talking about and if you don’t, you really missed out. Find a shallow basin that you can sit in and fill with warm water and appropriate essential oils or herbal infusions as above. Treats tears, piles, cysts and many genitourinary system disorders.

Tip: A baby bath is a perfect size for this.

3) Hot & Cold Local applications: As a therapeutic practice, this works on the same principle as the Hot/Cold shower treatments above. When an area of the body in injured, inflamed, painful or swollen the body is naturally attempting to bring healing to this area. By applying hot/cold compresses locally to the area, we increase blood flow, hence increasing healing. Very simple!

Tip: If applying herbal treatment to an injury or particular area of the body, this treatment performed before hand will increase the uptake and utilization of any further treatment. Wonderful on its own for pain relief.

So instead of giving out about the up coming water charges , lets take it as an opportunity to realize the vital importance of water and consider how we can utilize it in the best way for our ongoing health and wellbeing. And it you really have to do a bit of complaining, try doing it in a relaxing foot bath to help you chill out!




Cold n’ Flu season is upon us ……

Moving into Autumn, it always take me a while to get let the summer go and face towards the winter. I have had many a winter where, the weather has taken a sharp turn and cold and flu season is upon us before I even think about preparing for the winter and having my natural health kit stocked up. Since having children of my own and the snots and sneezing that inevitably comes with them, I have been pushed to get more organized and prepare in advance for cold and flu season. This makes life a lot less stressful and when walking the path of natural health care, its essential to be armed with all the allies available to us and have a fair idea how to use them!



Read more