Here at Hudson Healing Arts, we’re big fans of keeping things simple, especially when it comes to taking care of yourself. In a world of oversaturation, there’s so much power — and peace — in getting back to the basics.
That’s why we adore Dr. Dickson Thom’s philosophy of following the “natural laws”: natural habits that are foundational to good health. As a naturopath and a dentist with 45+ years of experience, Dr. Thom observed that there are universally beneficial guidelines to wellbeing (regardless of the health issues you may be dealing with). Here’s a quick introduction to his philosophy:
“We are nature. Just as rocks contain calcium, so do our bones. Just as rivers contain water, so does our body. Just as lightning conducts electric current, so does our brain. And yet, over many generations of increased industrialization and technology, we have distanced ourselves from everyday cycles of nature, becoming removed from that which we are. This separation has led us to become a society with more illness than wellness.”
In other words, living in accordance with these natural laws doesn’t require lots of money or specialized knowledge. It’s simply about aligning with nature to stay well and be in a more balanced state. The beauty of following these natural laws is that when you relieve stress from the body and mind, your energy can focus on what truly needs to be supported.
Without further ado, here’s a quick overview of Dr. Thom’s natural laws!
Be outside 30+ mins a day
There’s a ton of research to confirm that spending time outside has profound benefits to our wellbeing. Fresh air and sunshine are both forms of medicine in their own right. It’s recommended to be outdoors for a minimum of 30 minutes a day to lower your stress and anxiety levels, strengthen your immune system, and even help you sleep and breathe better.
Play on a daily basis
It’s so easy to get caught up in what needs to be done — but what if you reframed play as something that’s foundational to your health? According to Dr. Thom, one of the most important questions you can ask yourself is “Did you have fun today?” Play is vital to helping us unwind our nervous system and move through the world from a place of greater balance. For a great example of this in action, watch animals. They instinctively know how to maintain the balance between sleep, food, and play.
We may take thousands of breaths each day, but not all breaths are created equal. Harnessing the power of your breath is one of the best and simplest things you can do to put yourself in a parasympathetic state. Deep, intentional breathing sends a signal to your brain that you’re safe to relax. Another benefit is that moving your diaphragm stimulates the liver; which means that deep breathing is like getting a massage for your body’s main filter.
Dr. Thom recommends a minimum of 100 deep breaths a day. Start off by inhaling for 1 count, holding for 4 counts, and exhaling for 2. You can also double each number as your breathing naturally deepens (inhale for 2, hold for 8, and exhale for 4). Remember, you don’t have to do extended periods of breathwork to feel a shift! To make it a habit, try putting post-it note reminders on your mirror, or simply take some deep breaths when you’re standing in line at the store.
Staying hydrated is vital to your overall health, energy levels, and mood. Babies start out as 70% water, and that number drops as we age. Most people with chronic illnesses are also cellularly dehydrated.
We all need different amounts of water to feel our best, but the general rule of thumb is that you need half of your body weight in ounces. If water tends to run right through you, it may mean you need more electrolytes. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is one great way to up your electrolytes. If you need help with this balance, consult your healthcare provider.
It’s easy to overthink exercise, but there’s a way to keep it simple: Move your body! We were never designed to stand still or sit at a desk, so just find a way to be active each day for at least 30 minutes. Your body, mind, and mood will benefit tremendously (and yes, walking counts!). If you can’t manage 30 minutes at a time, try 10 minutes 3x a day or even 5 minute periods of exercise 6 x daily.
Did you know the lymphatic system is the only system in the body without an active pump? It needs motion of some kind to create flow and push the toxins out of the body. Thankfully, there are plenty of easy ways to stimulate it. It’s best to do so at night, because most of your cleansing happens during sleep.
Getting enough sleep is essential for your overall health. Seven and a half to eight hours is necessary to keep your body physiologically in balance, and a big part of that is being proactive about creating the right conditions.
Good sleep hygiene is all about getting back to the basics. Just the act of keeping your phone out of reach and sleeping in a totally dark room (which stimulates the pineal gland) will improve the quality of your sleep. If blackout curtains aren’t an option where you live, try a blackout sleep mask. It works!
Meditation doesn’t have to mean sitting in silence for hours on end. If you regularly put yourself in a relaxed position, it will go a long way in settling your parasympathetic system and helping every organ system get in a better state.
Eating a nutritious diet doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, you can keep it as simple as possible with this recommendation: The more colors you eat each day, the greater the benefit. Aim for 10 different colors of fruits and veggies a day.
Dr. Thom is also a big believer in organic apple cider vinegar. Hem recommends adding a ½ teaspoon to a glass of water and drinking it 15 minutes before a meal, to help your digestive system be ready to digest the food you’re eating.
Remember, keep it simple!
The simplicity of these natural laws may seem misleading — but the reality is that they tend to be “common wisdom, not common practice.” Adopting these habits is a wonderful way to help access your natural state of wellbeing and maintain your health.
Remember, you don’t have to jump into all of this at once. Start adopting these guidelines as slowly as you need to, and honor that adjustment time in taking even better care of yourself. To learn more about Dr. Thom’s philosophies, visit drdicksonthom.com. You can also watch his YouTube presentation on the natural laws here.
As always, we hope you enjoyed reading this blog! Feel free to follow us on Facebook (@HudsonHealingArts) for more holistic healing inspiration and resources.
Hannah Chenoweth is a Hoboken-based conference producer and freelance writer who enjoys covering all aspects of health and wellness.