What is the Vis Medicatrix Naturae?
This is Latin for the Healing Power of Nature and one of the naturopathic principles. When going through the healing process, one must trust that the body has an innate ability to heal. What we choose as an avenue to heal, whether it be diet, exercise, counseling, nutritional supplements, body work etc are used with a goal to support the healing power of nature which we will call “the Vis”. Someone with a stronger Vis will be able to recover with much more ease than someone with less Vis, given the same condition. But this does not mean that someone with a weaker Vis cannot build that up. This is one of the goals of naturopathic medicine.
The Vis is not just a physical life force, or strength. It is also emotional and spiritual. All aspects of life are tied in together. One leading cause of stress is not doing what aligns with one’s inner values. This discrepancy can cause one to feel internal tension. This situation can lower one’s Vis and make it more difficult to have the motivation to live a happy and healthy life. Success is doing what one believes in.
How do you measure or quantify it?
The bio-impedance analysis test BIA, which we run in our office is a way to partially quantify the Vis. Since it is an abstract principle, it is not something that can be completely quantified in all aspects but this test particularly quantifies more of the physical aspect of a person’s vital force.
The BIA machine measures capacitance, resistance, charge, body water etc. When a person’s cells can keep the membrane potential as negative as it should be, the cells function optimally. The machine calculates through a series of measurements something called a phase angle. The higher the phase angle, the stronger the person is, and better able to recover from illness quickly. Studies also show that the more muscle mass a cancer patient has, the higher their survival rate.
How do you influence the Vis?
There are many ways to to influence the Vis and generally this is what we go into detail with a naturopathic consultation. We find specific supplements to give your body the correct signals to heal. As we discussed above with BIA testing and the goal of creating healthy cell membranes, fish oils and vitamin D are some supplements that will achieve that.
From a mind body perspective the Vis can be enhanced by a loving relationship, healthy thoughts, discipline, healthy lifestyle etc. It can be drained out by just the opposite of the above. Sometimes freedom to do whatever one want feels good at first. However the unleashing of self to go after the type of pleasure that does not support one’s wellbeing eventually becomes binding and depletes the Vis.
For example sometime it feels good to dwell on negative thought patterns, or to have yet another piece of sugary food after a difficult day. But if it does not align with your inner goal to be happy and healthy, then there is actually no freedom in the indulgence. True freedom is having the discipline to do what it takes to allow yourself to live the way you want to. Success is doing what you believe in. So give yourself the gift of encouraging the Vis Medicatrix Naturae within yourself and remember to give thanks for what you already have abundantly.