Naturopathic Medicine is the system of primary health care which works with the individual’s efforts towards the optimal expression of physiological, physical, and mental/emotional health.
Naturopathic Medicine is a system of medicine that focuses on promoting health and restoring health by treating disease with natural, non toxic therapies.
Naturopathic Medicine is also a system of medicine that focuses on prevention. It also aims to maintain health and to empower an individual to achieve the highest possible level of health.
What is a Naturopath?
A Naturopath is a person who applies treatment modalities based on the principles of Naturopathic Medicine.
The Principles of Naturopathy
The following principles underpin the practice of Naturopathy:
1- The Healing Power of Nature or Vis Medicatrix Naturae: There is a ‘vital force’ or ‘life force’ which drives the self-healing or self correcting mechanisms of the body.
2- The Triad of Health, which describes the connection and interaction between the structural, biochemical and mental/emotional compopnnets of all living beings. Dysfunction in on area invariably leads to disruption elsewhere.
3- The Uniqueness of the individual: People are genetically, biochemically, structurally and emotionally different from one another. Each person responds in a unique way to influences whether they are mental/emotional, structural, nutritional, social or cultural.
Naturopaths also recognise :
- Health is more than the absence of disease: It is dependent upon a multitude of factors and is a reflection of a harmoniuos interaction with our environment.
- Acute disease processes are different from chronic processes.
The acute response is the body’s attempt to restore health often through enhanced process of elimination. Supression of such healing processes contributes to the potential for chronic breakdown.
- Disease processes involve activation of the body’s homeostatic mechanisms; health is homeostasis- a dynamic equilibrium.
- The individual requires suitable foods for nourishment, clean water, fresh air and sun light, as well as appropriate exercise, rest and relaxation.
- Prevention is preferable to cure. Prevention is the best cure.
Naturopathic physicians are preventive medicine specialists
Prevention of disease is achieved through education and encouraging life habits that support health and prevent disease
The defining elements of Naturopathic practice is that Naturopaths:
1- Work with the body’s self-correcting mechanisms or efforts to maintain homeostasis.
2- Endeavour to address all aspects of the naturopathic triad.
3- Regard education and co-operation of the patient as highly as treatment of the patient.
4- Address lifestyle factors which are contributing to the problem and re-educate the patient into a lifestyle more conductive to health.
5- Aim to establish health on a cellular level by improving circulation and innervation, nutrition, detoxification and elimination.
Three parts to Naturopathic medicine: assessment, treatment and education.
The Naturopath aims to identify the causative factors which are creating functional distrubance. This would include evidence of both sub-clinical disease and any gross pathology. In order to make an assessment it is necessary to recognise that
1) Identify and treat the cause (tolle causam)
Underlying causes of dysfunction should be identified where possible
2) Structural, biochemical and mental/emotional factors may contribute to the patient’s condition.
3) The individual genetic make-up of the patient, the inherited miasmata and the environment are predisposing factors in the expression of disease and will contribute to the individual’s experience of that disease.
4) There is often multifarious causation. A diverse range of factors may play a role in disease processes. There is ussually a cumulative effect of predisposing factors and a final excitatory or trigger factor.
Naturopathic assessment may include the following elements:
1) Case history taking
2) Analysis of lifestyle and environment
3) Clinical examination
4) Clinical tests
5) Laboratory testing
6) Subtle energy diagnostic methods (applied kinesiology, matrix reflex testing…etc)
the Naturopath always seeks to:
1) First do not harm (primum no nocere)
Naturopathic physicians seek to do no harm with medical ttt by employing safe and effective natural therapies
2) Employ methods which work with the body’s healing power and self-correcting mechanisms and avoid treatments which may work against these mechanisms and which suppresses acute diseases.
The body has considerable power to heal itself. It is the role of the physician to facilitate and enhance this process with the aid of natural, non-toxic therapies.
3) Deal with underlying causes of dysfunction where possible
Naturopathic physicians are trained to seek the underlying causes of a disease rather than simply suppress the symptoms. Symptoms are viewed as expressions of the body’s attempt to heal, while the causes can spring from the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels
4) Reduce the burden of load. It may not always be possible to identify the underlying causes of the problem, but often a number of contributory factors can be identified. It is preferable to reduce the overall burden on the body using established naturopathic means.
5) Sometimes, it may be necessary to use short term measures which assist in the removal of symptoms for the comfort and safety of the individual, however it is important to employ in addition long-term restoration measures.
6) Treat the whole person or attempt to address all aspects of the Naturopathic Triad of Health.
Naturopathic physicians are trained to view the individual as a whole, composed of a complex set of physical, mental, emotional, social and other factors.
7) Employ simple treatments before more complex, where possible.
8) Support patient’s efforts in gaining and maintaining control of their own health.
Naturopathic physicians are teachers, educating, empowering and motivating patients to assume more personal responsibility for their health by adopting a healthy attitude, lifestyle and diet.