Natural Healing, Healthy Living for Your Animals

I know that you've probably had at least elementary instruction in the systems of the body...  But do you remember it?  Do you know that most animals have similar systems?  And do you think of what could be going wrong with them when your pet has a health problem?

I'm going to go over them again, then, in a simplistic fashion - because their basic functions are simple (even though their constituents and actions are incredibly complex and astonishing to contemplate).  I think you'll see, though, why the simple things are important, in light of what they accomplish.

I'll include in each of these sections what the system does, how to retain or regain its effectiveness, and some of the basic things one might think of to undertake to achieve this...


The Circulatory System

I put this first, because it nourishes everything else.  The heart, of course, pumps the blood through the network of veins, arteries, and capillaries... which reach everything else in the body - outward to the skin, inward to each cell.  Oxygen-rich blood is needed to feed, and to flush toxins out of, every part of the body.

If the heart itself doesn't work well, the energy of each cell and the whole body is diminished.  If the blood vessels are clogged, the heart can't function efficiently, and not enough oxygen reaches the tissues.  Oxygenation occurs through exercise, so lack of exercise, too, will deplete the body's energy reserves (and diminish the functioning of each cell).  This means that any weak spot in the body - an organ, say, or digestion, or the ligaments - will have that much less support to keep it operating properly.

So there are several clues right there to things you might do for flagging energy or diseased states...  Oxygenate.  Clear the arteries.  Support the heart and blood vessels.  Get good, rich blood flowing to the site of any problem, be it an organ or the skin or a cramped muscle or a tumor or a general malaise.  Stagnant blood needs cleaning out, the cells need oxygen and nourishment.

So to do?  The first and most obvious thing is exercise.  Any exercise is worlds better than none! - even the gentlest exercise gets the blood moving; don't even think of using an excuse not to do it, or see that your animal does it.

The best herb in the world to get the blood flowing is cayenne.  The stuff at the supermarket is better than nothing, but it's very weak compared with the real hot stuff -   It will even get the blood moving through the blood-brain barrier at the base of the skull, so is good for mental sluggishness as well as any problem in the brain or head (eyes, sinuses, etc).  (And contrary to popular assumption, it's not irritating to the digestive tract tissues - rather, it can heal them.)

The Lymphatic System

This has got to be the most overlooked medical reality - other than the occasional enlarged lymph gland when one has a cold, and the desire to remove lymph glands as soon as cancer is detected nearby, no one pays the least bit of attention to it (including your doctor and veterinarian)!  Yet the lymphatic system is the critical partner of the circulatory system.  Here is what Stan D. Malstrom, N.D., says of it in the book Own your own body  «- Clicking on this link will take you to book info at  (Or click HERE to try Powell's used books] ...

It "helps nourish the body by transporting various nutrients, such as salts, minerals, proteins, etc., to all parts of the body.  Most of the body receives nourishment directly from the lymphatic system, rather than from the blood.  In fact, most of the cells of the body never come into direct contact with the blood, but receive their nutrients and supplies directly from the lymphatic fluids.

"The lymph nodes act as garbage collectors for the body.  Lymph is an absorbent substance, capable of collecting the waste products generated by the cells of the body and turning them over to the blood.  The blood, in turn, transports the wastes to the lungs, kidneys, colon, and skin for elimination from the body."  In other words, it is hugely important in detoxifying the body...  And the clogging of the system (via too much protein - whose molecules are bigger than others - or sluggishness) can lead to malaise and degenerative diseases.  "...Lymphatic congestion always involves the adrenals...", so stress can also play a role in the lessening of the system's effectiveness as well.

Lymph also manufactures most of the body's disease-fighting white blood cells, as well as giving rise to red blood corpuscles when passed into the bloodstream near the heart.  (It gets to the chest cavity by muscular contraction - you see how all of the systems are interdependent, of course!)

Exercise and massage and deep diaphragmatic breathing can help clear the lymphatic system.  The momentary weightlessness of trampolining (even very gently) is particularly effective in stimulating the flow of lymph (my dogs love it!); or try rocking your cat?  Hot baths and poultices over the nodes (especially with onions or potato/ginger), hot-and-cold hydrotherapy, and acupuncture or acupressure are also useful.  A number of herbs give particular support to the lymph as well.

The Musculoskeletal System

Bones, connective tissues, and muscles - sounds simple!  Not only do they allow movement, they also protect vital organs and nerves (the spinal column is the major nerve pathway, of course).

For creatures that walk on all fours, the spinal column isn't nearly so subject to trauma as it is for us humans...  Animals' vertebrae are suspended where ours are packed down one atop the other.  But vertebral subluxations (i.e., "out of whack"!) are common, and chiropractic care can be done both preventatively and in remedially.  Massage 

Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins D and C are all essential for the building and functioning of bones and muscles.  (By the way, you absolutely must not take calcium without at least half as much magnesium! - it appalls me how few doctors are aware of the crucial synergy of magnesium and calcium.)  Exercise is also very important for bone health - and muscular health, naturally!  (And don't forget that the heart itself is a muscle.  And that muscular action is what propels all of the fluids in the body and allows for digestion and elimination of wastes.)

Stressed and spasming muscles in animals are for the most part simply borne by them...  Spasm tightness is an adaptation of the body to stress - the muscular rigidity compensates for weakness elsewhere (often in the spine, because of a subluxation).  Muscular and connective tissue stress can come from exercise that is too violent, especially because the body isn't "warmed up" (i.e., stretched, though enough temperature warmth is also important).  It may also be due to dehydration - always make sure that your animals have enough water to drink!

The Nervous System

The miraculous nervous system reaches into the cells themselves... and of course general cellular health is critical for the nerves in general.  It's nerves that tell the muscles to move, the brain to think, the lungs to breathe, the skin to feel, etc. - where would we be without them?!

CURE RESTLESS LEGS WITHOUT DRUGS  The supplements don't work either - but this simple technique stops the awful "antsyness" right away (It is nerve-related, as you'd think)

As we all know, sleeplessness, lack of exercise, poor diet, stress, overwork, and various drugs, and just plain idleness can all contribute to "nervous depletion"...  The same holds true for animals.

Caged or penned animals particularly need the stimulation that we otherwise withhold from them.  Loneliness can also become a major problem for some animals.  Either can lead to behavioral problems (which are often as much communication as symptom! - "This is bad for me").

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies may cause "nervousness".  Various herbs (either sedative or tonic) are excellent for the nerves.  Exercise and massage are great relievers of nervous tension, as is the balancing of acupuncture or acupressure.  Hot baths (not so practical for animals) and hot-and-cold hydrotherapy to the spine and the liver, stomach, and spleen can be very effective.  It's also important to be sure that an animal is eliminating properly.

Then we come back to the spinal column itself...  The vertebrae protect the spinal cord, which with the brain comprises the central nervous system.  It's central, because all impulses are ultimately processed in the brain... so the route to the brain is all-important.  Nerves branch off to different parts of the body all along the spine.

When that main nerve column is pinched due to compressed intervertebral discs or subluxations of the vertebrae, a nexus of nerve communication is impaired...  The part/s of the body that are fed by the nerves at that site in the spinal column may receive pain signals or numbness. (And compensation may appear in the form of limping, muscle spasms, etc.)

Chiropractic care is important wherever subluxations develop - and it's important to look for them, because symptoms can be referred to any part of the body, including vital organs.

Water, again, is critical in maintaining the health of the intervertebral discs, which cushion the vertebrae from each other. ...As it is critical for the functioning of all the organs, including the brain!  (Are you drinking enough water? - other liquids do not take its place!  By the time you're thirsty for a drink, dehydration is already underway...)

The Respiratory System

Mouth, nose, sinus cavities, throat, "windpipe", bronchi, lungs...  Filtering, warming, moistening the air; exchanging the incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. 

Muscles are critical to the functioning of the respiratory system.  If a subluxation to the spine occurs in an animal's ribcage, the muscles may spasm so as to not allow for normal expansion of the ribcage on breathing...  Not only will exercise be painful, but shallow breathing means that not enough oxygen is getting to the tissues - not a good thing!  Plus, there's that vertebra that's protecting the nerves that go to the lungs...  Take care of those subluxations.

Water is naturally crucial for respiration (the lungs and all the linings of the respiratory system are moist!), both in the tissues (imbibed water) and in the air.  That's why vaporizers are used for a cough or sinus troubles, for example - animals can benefit from humidified air for the same reasons.  (I use a vaporizer in the winter where my dogs sleep because we heat our house with wood - very drying to the air.)

Environmental toxins as well as drugs and food allergies can wreak havoc with the respiratory systems of animals as well as humans.  Air temperature, too, must be regulated by the respiratory system - if it's not up to par, or the temperature is extreme, we'll have to do the regulating for our critters.

Congestion in the lungs is a serious problem, as the lung membranes need to be porous to "respirate" (pass gases back and forth).  Cayenne, lobelia, and ginger are the most powerful movers of mucous from the lungs.  Garlic and goldenseal are also vital herbs for lung and mucous membrane healing.  Onion, ginger, or mustard packs to the chest and/or feet are often used for respiratory problems, garlic packs where infection is suspected.  (The skin should always be protected with a coating of olive oil first so as not to blister from powerful poultices.)

Don't forget gentle exercise - the lungs need to be kept clear via movement as well.  Even rocking in a rocking chair can clear up a stuffy head!...  Some exercise is always possible, even for tired people or animals with arthritic pain.  Massage, too, can stimulate breathing, drain sinuses, etc.

(Continued on the next page...)

NEXT...  "Understanding the Basics - 2"