Each of us has certain situations to which we are highly sensitive and triggers to which we are likely to react. This is known as ‘susceptibility’ and is an important factor for natural therapists to consider.
Susceptibility is one of the things that makes us unique, because sensitivity to situations is different for each of us. We do, however, share some susceptibilities - this is best demonstrated in epidemic situations where a population becomes overwhelmed by a contagion and a group of individuals produce similar reactions and symptoms.
A person’s susceptibility can be linked to certain events, such as always getting ill after being exposed to harsh weather, or suffering a stomach upset when anxious. It may also be the result of our environment - living in a damp house is likely to lead to upper respiratory tract symptoms, although for some of us it will be sooner rather than later. Functional medicine recognises these susceptibilities as antecedents - factors that predispose us to illness such as genetic traits, occupational exposure, and past experiences that may have caused emotional trauma.
But antecedents alone may go undetected and do not cause a problem until they are triggered. Triggers are the events which provoke disease and the number of triggers required varies depending on the individual. Triggers could include a stressful event, exposure to environmental allergens, or a build-up of toxins.
Susceptibilities can manifest on any level: mental, emotional or physical. Natural therapies, like homeopathy and nutritional therapy, can change our core susceptibility, strengthening our constitution to make us more resilient when we encounter a vulnerable situation.