• Silvia Russo

A modern rationale for how healing occurs and how it inspired me to created my business logo

The body has a wonderful ability to heal itself. We can see this natural phenomena at play when we cut ourselves and we see all the cells beginning to congregate at the wound, mopping up the debris and repairing it, all at the same time. It was in 2013 I had attended a seminar and I remember this seminar very clearly where world renowned herbalist and academic amongst other things, Simon Mills was trying to explain the rationale behind how herbal medicine works on our physiological being using the principles of chaos theory, complexity and fractional geometry, just to name a few. I was feeling a bit confused, thinking how can these concepts used in physics and mathematics possibly explain how herbal medicine works on our complex makeup? At the same time I felt a bit of nostalgia as it bought me back to my first year at Melbourne University in the mid 90's where i actually did physics, however, I must of liked it so much..I haven't touched it since! (LOL).

After hearing Simon talk, I had a bit of an epiphany as the information presented resonated with me quite strongly and made me think about how as a therapist practising natural medicine, maybe, I can provide that gentle force, that little nudge that's needed for the body's innate healing capacity to be "activated" and to then carry on in a very neat and subtle way, without any further intervention or influence from the outside world. The body is capable of remarkable things when given the right tools and guidance.

Simon talked about the principles of self assembly, complexity and chaos theory to come up with a rationale behind how the herbs can possibly initiate that gentle nudge in the right direction enabling the body to heal itself. To fully understand these concepts we must go back to basic principles. We know from science that the properties of wholes are emergents from their parts. For example thunderstorms are phenomena emergent from the properties of gaseous water molecules, which are emergent from chemical properties to atomic physical properties to sub atomic physical properties.

Within these naturally occurring phenomena such as thunderstorms, are these patterns. These patterns exist everywhere in nature, not just thunderstorms. You can see this pattern emerge in cyclones, sand dunes, plants and vegetables such as the romanesco broccoli, in shells and in snowflakes. They involve components from the molecular (crystals) to the planetary (weather systems) scale and many different kinds of interactions. "Life appears to be self organising" as Simon says! You can visibly see these principles of self assembly and complexity in the form of patterns in nature, all around you, which can be explained mathematically by the Fibonacci sequence and fractional geometry.

The ratio of fibonacci numbers is called the golden ratio and that ratio occurs frequently throughout the natural world. Therefore if you tap these numbers into a mathematical software program, it will form a mathematically generated model in multiple dimensions which represents and looks like the patterns we see looking up close to a shell, or using a microscope, in a leaf, a crystal or a snowflake. These patterns, as you are starting to get the picture, emerge everywhere in nature and they are characteristically similar, they all follow this rule of the golden ratio, hence the concept of self similarity. These structures provide superb flexibility, adaptability and strength. For example, if you look at the lung, it provides the most efficient surface area within the given volume. Mother nature is truly clever!

In biological life however, there is a balance between chaos and order which is given the name "complexity." Living things can be seen to manifest homeostatic yet flexible states as if they are drawn there by gravity. Life therefore appears to be self organising, before our very eyes, without any human intervention. So there exists a particular order and self assembly in nature, even through the midst and throws of chaos.

Self organisation implies self correction. It suggests that health is a place the body reverts to, effortlessly, probably because it uses less energy there. We begin to see health as a endeavour pull, a gravitational force.

Therefore, there exists in all physical matter around us a particular order in which things occur naturally by themselves and if we as therapists can tap into that order and provide a gentle nudge, given by the way of phytonutrients in herbs, acupuncture or other natural phenomena, then perhaps the body has this ability to continue in that order of self assembly and self propagation and the healing will take place effortlessly.

Herbs for centuries were broadly classified into categories of whether they were warm, cool, whether they would cleanse, eliminate or tonify, hence, herbal medicine would be seen to be very good at nudging as the nudging is straightforward. This classification of herbs can be seen throughout all cultures, whether Chinese medicine, Western herbal medicine or Ayurvedic medicine.

The body's ability to self assemble and to pick up momentum will enable healing to take place well after the little nudge we have provided it, as the body will want to get better. It will follow the path of least resistance or towards that gravitational force perhaps? However life is a complex dynamic phenomenon and manifests as a self organising balance between order and chaos. Perhaps when the body finds itself difficult to find it's balance (is dis-eased), it will respond best either to a well tried , gentle nudge or to a complex, broad based synergistic interaction honed by use over centuries, which is what a mixture of herbal medicine is and so it achieves a more long term, sustainable approach to health and wellbeing. We as herbalists can reboot the body and start all over again or if it's too complex a condition, we can ask the body what it wants, the signs and symptoms are there for a well trained, highly intuitive therapist to read.

It is this very seminar presented by Simon Mills that got me inspired and it re sparked and re energised my passion for herbal medicine and therefore I wanted to represent this in my business logo which has been in existence since 2013. Hence my logo is a spiral which is "kind of" based on that golden ratio. It is not a true representation as the shape of the spiral is not quite right in accordance with the golden ratio , however I wanted something that resembled it. I wanted something that resembled this simple but magical sequence of numbers that gives rise to all of these remarkable patterns of similarity seen in all things around us in nature. It might just serve as a perfect rationale for how the body can have the innate capacity to heal itself, with self organisation and self correction, and no further intervention, after giving it a bit of a nudge, at the right time, and that's the job of a well trained, well experienced therapist!

This theory of life's origins is rooted in an unrepentant holism, born not of mysticism, but of mathematical necessity - Stuart Kauffman from "At Home in the Universe"






Over 18 years in practice

Flemington & Bittern on Mornington Peninsula 

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