Health & Wellness Helping the Body Help Itself

by Nancy Iankowitz, RN, DNP

The human body is designed to heal itself. Intuitively, you know this. That is why, for instance, if your finger is cut, you expect the body to do exactly what it was designed to do: heal your cut. Sometimes, your best intentions can get in the way. For instance, when you decide to help the process along by applying ointment or covering the cut with an adhesive bandage, you actively facilitate the healing process. By the same token, you may accidentally interfere with your body’s natural healing process by keeping the cut dirty or continuing to irritate it. The same rule that applies to your external body system also applies to your internal organs. You have the power to facilitate healing as well as complicate (distract from) the process.

The body communicates through signals often referred to as “symptoms.” Pain and fever, for example, are powerful signals that indicate when the body needs help. When treated as if they are the only problems rather than valuable messengers delivering important information, we may distract our body, ultimately complicating the healing process. This is not to say when a problem is diagnosed and appropriately addressed by an educated, licensed, and certified health provider with pills or creams to address pain or fever that this is missing the point. On the contrary. Such treatments are likely to help, but often only as one of several steps. Once pain and fever get your attention and get treated – and the true underlying issue is appropriately identified and addressed – the treatments may no longer be necessary. In fact, they might become a distraction from sleep, joy, exercise and other healthful activities of daily living, thus, interfering with the healing process itself.

To learn more about how pain and fever are necessary messages that can lead to distractions, join me at the Pawling Library on Wednesday, July 12, at 7:00 p.m. for a presentation entitled “Boosting the Immune System.” Other topics will include what sinus infections represent (and how to get rid of – as well as avoid – them), what snoring really means (and how to fix it), and much more about your body so you can help yourself heal before symptoms get out of hand. The session will include an opportunity to ask questions.

Dr. Nancy Iankowitz is a board certified family nurse practitioner and Director of Holistic and Integrative Healing LLC. Email your questions and comments to: