Nature’s Power to Heal — A Dog Story

Photo credit: Creative Commons license photo by MKH Marketing,

When I was in medical school, coffee houses offered a welcome sanctum where I could hole up and study, with a nice balance of quiet and distraction.

As I sat cramming biochemistry into my brain one afternoon, a friendly looking man approached and initiated a conversation.

Benjamin Alter, ND

“What are you studying,” he said.

“Natural medicine.”

“I’ll tell you something about natural medicine,” he said, smiling enthusiastically.

The man told me about his dog, who had been afflicted with a chronic condition that carried an almost certain fatal prognosis.

The man decided that he would give his pet the dignity of passing in a natural setting. So he packed enough supplies for a week in the wilderness, and they headed off together.

When the week had passed, he noticed that the dog seemed to be doing much better – he was more energetic, and seemed to be in less pain.

The man made a quick trip to the city for supplies. And at the end of the second week, the dog was well on the way to regaining its full energy and function.

The man assured me, “Natural healing is that simple!”

For a young medical student, buried in the endless details of biochem and physiology, the story provided a wonderful perspective.

It eloquently proclaimed the basic truth of Naturopathic Medicine – that the body heals itself, and that our role is simply to create an optimal environment for healing to occur. The story suggests that nature provides the most powerful healing surroundings of all.

I find it tremendously amusing that governments are earmarking funds to study the healing effects of the natural environment. I wonder: why can’t we simply trust the shared human experience of countless millennia?

Nature’s power to heal appears to be profound. And it seems the effects can be largely attributed to the impact of natural electromagnetic radiation on the body’s autonomic nervous system.

I think the conclusion to be drawn is that no treatment plan should overlook the therapeutic value of spending time in natural surroundings.

It needn’t be complicated. To access Mother Nature’s Healing Remedy, we need do no more than remove our shoes and place our feet on the ground. Some researchers claim that the earth’s electromagnetic fields can penetrate concrete or tile!

It’s wonderful to spend time in the silence and beauty of the woods. But if you haven’t got the time for a week-long stay in the mountains, don’t worry; just place your feet on the ground, relax, and breathe deeply. 

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Benjamin Alter, N.D., is an associate at Pacific Naturopathic. You can call Benjamin at 650-917-1121.