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What is Herbalism? How does it complement bodywork?

In case you haven’t been in touch lately, we’ve been talking about herbalism. A lot. Because it’s that kind of important to us at The Pushy Goat. We’ve already discovered ways to “pepper” herbalism into our services.

Looking for a customized oil to be used during your massage? We can do that.

How about refreshing and rejuvenating yourself with our Mellow Mind-Trip Tea Session?

What about taking some of that herbal goodness home with something for your home from our new retail offerings?

Let’s talk a little bit more about what herbalism is, and how it is the perfect complement to the bodywork and services offered at The Pushy Goat.

In its most basic form, herbalism is the practice of using herbs and herbal preparations to maintain health & alleviate symptoms of disease. The word disease was first used to literally refer to “the lack of ease or comfort”, rather than how it is used today to refer to illness.

Herbalism as a practice is thousands of years old and spans the globe. My philosophy is that herbalism isn’t meant to replace more allopathic methods (i.e. traditional western medicine), but is a method to assist your body’s natural, innate intelligence to maintain a happy, healthy balance - mentally, physically, and emotionally.

In order to best understand the vastness of the practice of herbalism, let’s consider its history.

Herbalism and other traditional plant medicine date back to the 5th century BCE. The Greek philosopher Empedocles declared that all matter was made up of 4 elements, thus laying the groundwork for chemistry as the science of understanding the material world.

The early understanding of elemental foundations greatly influenced the alchemical traditions that began around 2,000 years ago. Through an understanding of chemistry and the elements (currently at 92 - a few more than Empedocles described), we begin to see the connections that exist between all things. This is also how herbalists study plants to understand how the individual elements of the plants interact with the human body.

My training in the practice of vitalist herbalism complements the work we do at The Pushy Goat perfectly, founded on a holistic approach to the human body, plants and herbs, and the world around us.

The vitalist tradition looks at the whole person, investigating beyond symptoms to get to the root cause of why the client is seeking the help of an herbalist. It is based on the understanding that the biochemical attributes of an organism are not all that is important. Look at the intelligence of nature and the Earth can assist the body with re-informing itself to function in a more balanced way, maintaining homeostasis.

Within the vitalist tradition, we look at supporting the body and its natural intelligence. Symptoms expressed by the body are a form of communicating, but they aren’t the root of the problem. It is important (vital, even) to look at the whole person and the whole plant, rather than focusing solely on symptoms or on the individual chemicals in a plant.

In this way, herbalism is an experience completely tailored to the individual - much like the services we provide at The Pushy Goat.

As we expand the retail offerings at The Pushy Goat, I keep in mind this core principle of addressing what each person needs as an individual and how even that can change from visit to visit.

You will find, as we grow this area of our offerings, that we are committed to working with small makers who utilize cultural herbalism practices from across the globe. Introducing you to these items and helping you integrate them into daily practice is our goal.

We’ve been listening to you, our clients, about what you want and need. We’ve heard you ask for help with:

  • Alleviating muscle and joint pain

  • Boosting your mood and mental function

  • Increasing circulation

  • Reducing stress and anxiety

  • Increasing energy

  • Getting better sleep

And we have you covered. It’s important to note that there is no “one size fits all” solution. If you have an interest in diving deeper into how plants can help you, herbalism consultations will become available soon.

For now, let us know your goals - we probably have a tincture or 2 to help!

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