I’ve received many questions about covid-19, so I’m writing today to share some current thoughts and feelings about this situation so we can better support each other through this viral time. This post shares a perspective that is less than mainstream. These days (and everyday), Naturopathic Doctors need to maintain “scientific sanity” and sanity means different things to different people. I hope you find this useful, rational and also empowering.
Covid-19 is having a novel impact on humanity, and will likely continue to do so for months to come. Viruses in general tend to trigger our fears - fear of loss and fear of death being the big ones. Fear induces survival responses and panic when it is ungrounded. It’s natural and healthy to feel fear, and at the same time, it’s important to work with this fear in a conscious way so that it has a chance to transform into compassion and courage. As you know, a recognition and even acceptance of our mortality makes us more present and able to respond to challenges from a heart-centred place.
From my perspective, on a cellular level, new viruses also tend to resonate or interact with any chronic viruses that we are carrying. Viral energy can be felt in our bodies as chaotic, zingy, anxious and confusing. I don’t know anyone who is immune to these feelings - they are an inevitable part of becoming more human.
One great approach to healing is to take measures to better respond to any chronic viruses in our system, while slowly releasing the toxicity that anchors their presence in our cells. Over time, cleansing old viral patterns can ease tension and increase our resilience to stress. From this perspective, viruses can be seen as an inevitable natural phenomenon that can strengthen our body against chronic disease, instead of something to be externally controlled and managed.
In nature, viruses are always evolving and mutating. We are never going to win the war against viruses; it would be like declaring war on Nature herself. Nature defies such controlling measures and there will be another coronavirus in years to come.
This time offers a great opportunity to listen carefully to the feedback nature is giving us. Part of that collective listening means that we are taking steps to slow the progression of the pandemic, such as social distancing, so we have more time to better support each other through this. All of this slowing down both personally and professionally will collectively give us pause to reflect on our own busy-ness and how we want to be in the world going forward.
So let’s focus more narrowly on this particular virus and a possible response to it. From what we know today, covid-19 appears to have its mildest impact on children and babies. I believe only about 2% of cases in China are among children under 19, and they are milder in nature. Severity of infection increases with age and a variety of underlying health conditions. I will not go into those right now.
Covid-19 is not a typical flu - it’s from a different family of viruses. Unlike influenza, for instance, covid-19 is likely not going to stop with the change in season. The typical features are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Diarrhea and muscle aches, as examples, are not the most typical symptoms. From my perspective, symptoms will depend on the viral susceptibilities within each one of us. Covid-19 lives in the respiratory system and so most transmission is through the air and close contact with infected individuals. People can also transmit the virus before displaying symptoms. Like flu, it’s highly infectious and so in the long run complete containment will likely not work. So the next best strategy is to slow the transmission, protect the vulnerable and wait until enough of us mount an antibody response so that this virus naturally can fade away.
Even though most of us don’t have covid-19 at this point, the energy of it is out there. The fear that goes with that energy can unground the kidneys, leading to a feeling of tightness in the lungs (even without covid-19). It’s a strange phenomenon, and it’s out there - the same as when people get itchy when they start thinking about bed bugs. So we have already entered the viral field of this disease and it’s therefore possible to start to understand how to support the body through the actual infection.
My feeling on this level is that kidney support will be important. It will allow our body to better detoxify the virus. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, shortness of breath - one of the hallmarks of covid-19 - is a failure of the kidney qi or energy to “grasp” the lung qi and pull it down. The kidneys are what keep us grounded, so it will be important to support the kidneys. With all infections, it’s important to support the liver to help the body more efficiently eliminate the infection. And immune supportive herbs can play a role in further assisting the body’s discharge of the virus. For specifics, I would recommend consulting a licensed Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, Herbalist or Naturopathic Physician near you.
Plants can offer amazing complimentary support for viral infections by sharing the latest up to date knowledge, because they live in the same world as we do. In Wuhan, Traditional Chinese Medicine is now being used to support people through this virus. Along with animals and humans, plants also have to deal with viruses. Plants know some great survival strategies.
In terms of species jump, of interest for covid-19 is the possible scenario that it came from ingesting pangolins or bats as food. And yet - if something like this is proven true - why now? A simple answer is that viruses are always mutating. One alternative idea that warrants further investigation suggests that sudden changes in electromagnetic fields can impact our susceptibility to viruses. Some suggest that 5G may be a cofactor in the rapid spread of this virus, as Wuhan was apparently China’s first ’smart city’ in terms of 5G rollout. I don’t pretend to know much about the genesis of covid-19 and only mention it here because it would be good to understand these things better going forward. For now, the important thing to keep focusing on is how we support ourselves and each other.
Slowing down, working consciously through any fear, finding solace in nature when possible, and increasing self-care are some of the best things we can do right now. Self-care might include a cleansing whole foods diet featuring an abundance of vegetables that limits stimulants and refined sugar. Other good self-care measures include ample water, sleep and exercise. Slowing down can be challenging on many levels and yet it also can provide an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with each other, our work and the natural world. I, for one, give thanks to the natural world and the plants that will help support us through these times. This is in addition to measures determined by the latest guidelines.
For recommendations and information from the BC Ministry of Health and BC Centre for Disease Control, please refer to the following links:
I hope this long post finds you feeling well and taking good care.
With love in my heart and gratitude for this opportunity to live life,
Dr. Keith Condliffe, ND