My two young kids were leaping off their beds in their shared room, discovering their new-found ability to jump farther than ever before. It also happened to be in the middle of their bedtime routine. I didn’t try to squash their effort or enthusiasm just to make them go to bed faster, though, because there was such a sense of vitality in them both; a palpable love of life that I can only describe as their vital force. Each of my daughter’s eyes were full of wild anticipation for the next jump and the sisters were in such full connection with each other, and proud to show off their skills in front of me.
The vital force: We use that term in naturopathic medicine when we are talking about your body’s innate ability to heal itself when given the right environment. It’s how your skin can heal itself when you get a cut and keep it clean. Your body wants to heal, to be healthy again not only physically but emotionally as well, so even if you are not jumping off your bed at night, your body still has the same vital force in it that a 4 year old has. The vital force can also be considered more than just the ability to heal, and may call to mind one’s spirit, soul, or reason for being. However, it can become diminished as we age and what we are exposed to, if we stop taking care of ourselves.
My goal as a parent is to not warp, squash, or deny this zest for life and learning that my kids have, as much as possible. It is intrinsically there, and we are all born with it. I aim to nurture it as best I can by providing nourishing food as much as possible, giving them plenty of access to nature and fresh air to run around and explore, allowing them several days per week to see their friends for socializing and camaraderie, and to make as many choices for themselves that they are old enough to wisely make. These are some basic tenets of a healthy life.
It is this vital force that I try to reach in all my patients as well. Unfortunately for many adults, the zest for life that I can clearly see in my young daughters has been beaten and battered over the years with layers of incorrect beliefs put upon them, abuse, poor choices, social isolation, or just overall life stress.
My goal in working with anyone is to facilitate the function of the vital force, and to strengthen its healing energy if it has weakened. Layer by layer, people can get back to who they are meant to be, both inside and out. And when I see that spark in the eyes of the person sitting across from me, I know we’re on the right track for healing to begin.
Dr. Melissa DeForest: I am a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in digestive disorders. My goal is to educate, inspire, and empower others to lead a life they love.
Disclaimer: All information presented here is for educational purposes only, and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise, supplement, or diet routine.