The “river of health” analogy can help us understand why our bodies lose resistance to some health challenges and how we can improve our overall health. Dr. Tina Marcantel is a naturopathic doctor in Gilbert, Arizona, who also serves the East Valley cities of Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Apache Junction, and Queen Creek, and the greater Phoenix area.

Getting Back to the Headwaters


In Part I of this article, we compared the deterioration of our health over time to the way a river becomes polluted as it travels from the pure mountain spring waters through the destructive environmental pollution of “civilization.”

The toxins that are added to our own river of health may come from poor lifestyle choices we make, but they can also come from sources that we really can’t control. So how do we get back upstream and try to live in the headwaters of health?

To begin, there are a few core principles we need to remember about how our bodies work:

*We are what we eat (and drink, and do).

Suppose your were given the task of cleaning up a polluted stream. How would you go about it? The obvious first step would be to stop the source of the pollution. If our goal is a healthy body, we must acknowledge that there are many things within our control that either enhance or detract from our health. We can educate ourselves about those things and commit to making the necessary changes to move toward better physical health.

*We can’t remove sickness from the body; we can only add health.

Now that we’ve stopped the source of pollution, how do we clean up the waters? While you could skim out a few pieces of floating garbage, the truth is that you would be
hard-pressed to filter out the real pollutants. What’s needed is fresh flowing water to wash away and replace the affected river.

In the same way, it is only in rare circumstances that we can actually remove sickness from the body. Most of the pharmaceutical drugs we take are really designed to mask problems, not eliminate them. Our real goal must be to add health that supports our immune systems so our bodies can fight off disease and resist future problems. Which brings us to our third point…

*Ultimately, the body heals itself; it’s our job to help it do its work.

A clean stream is an amazingly balanced ecosystem that is self-sustaining, but the human body is even more amazing. Our organ systems work overtime every day to keep our bodies balanced and running efficiently, and the restorative powers of the body are a wonder. Even so, the mental, emotional, and physical stresses we place on ourselves can push our organs beyond the capacity to function properly, leading to heart disease, adrenal problems, thyroid problems, diabetes, and a host of other health challenges. While modern medical advancements can be a great help, they can never replace the human body’s natural ability to heal itself; that is why we must provide our own bodies with every advantage we can by eating well, taking nutritional and hormonal supplements when necessary, exercising regularly, and following a comprehensive plan to improve our overall health.

As you can probably tell, naturopathic care is not about seeking a quick fix to health problems. Dr. Marcantel is committed to working with you as you continually progress along your journey to the clear running waters of good health!