Naturopathic medicine is a system of primary healthcare which
embodies the patient’s own resources in optimizing their psychic
and physical health.
The main principles of naturopathic practice are:
- Respect for, and co-operation with, the drive to self-correction,
healing and restoration that is naturally innate to the human body (vis
medicatrix naturæ: ) Naturopathic practice emphasizes the
maintenance or activation of that dynamic tendency to psychosomatic
health, the mind/body balance, that is homœostasis;
- Constant awareness of the “Triad of Health”: i.e., the
connections and interaction between the structural, biochemical and
psychic components of all beings – dysfunction in any one of which
inevitably means disruption elsewhere;
- The necessity of addressing lifestyle factors contributing to the
problem and the re-education of the patient into a healthier lifestyle.To
this end, the naturopath regards the education and co-operation of the
patient as being of equal importance to the practitioner’s treatments.
- The need to establish, or re-establish, health on a cellular level
by improving circulation, innervation (the supply of nervous stimuli)
and nutrition, including the processes of detoxification and excretion.
In accordance with these principles the naturopaths embraces the following
in their treatment. They will always seek to:
- Do no harm;
- Employ methods which work with the body’s own healing power
and self- correcting mechanisms and avoid treatments which may work
against these mechanisms and which suppress acute diseases;
- Provide, whenever possible, an ætiological treatment of the
dysfunction – i.e. treat the underlying cause or causes;
- If it should prove impossible to determine the ætiology, then
they will use established naturopathic methods to treat identifiable
contributory factors in order to reduce the overall burden on the patients
system.This means that it may sometimes be necessary to employ short-term
measures to assist in the alleviation of symptoms for the comfort or
safety of the patient, while never neglecting to also use long-term
health restoration methods.
- Address all aspects of the Naturopathic Triad of Health;
- Employ simple treatments before more complex treatments;
- Support the patient’s efforts in gaining and maintaining control
of his or her own health.
Because Naturopathy derives from and expresses
fundamentally a philosophy of healthcare, it may employ a variety
of specific treatments; but all are applied in a way which works with
the body’s own healing abilities and in accordance with the principles
of Naturopathy. Depending on the nature of the problem the core naturopathic
- Clinical dietetics and applied nutrition;
- Detoxification techniques;
- Physical Therapy: for example, osteopathy or chiropractic (if the
naturopath is a registered practitioner in either of these disciplines);
naturopathic physical manipulation; manual lymphatic drainage; massage
and other soft tissue (e.g. neuromuscular) techniques;
- Psycho-therapeutic techniques;
- Lifestyle advice.
Where the practitioner is additionally qualified, a number of other
therapies – for example, medical herbalism - may be employed as
part of naturopathic practice.
In identifying the factors which are causing the problem naturopaths
will consider evidences of both sub-clinical disease and any gross pathology.
They will be guided by an awareness that the individual genetic make-up
of the patient, (the inherited miasmata,) and the environment are factors
possibly contributing to the disease and may influence the individual’s
experience of that disease.Natureopaths will be aware that there are often
multiple causes, that a diverse range of factors may play a role in disease
processes. Most commonly there is a cumulative effect of various factors
which build up and eventually trigger the problem.
Naturopathic assessment is liable to include the following practical
- The taking of Case Histories;
- Analysis of lifestyle and environment;
- Clinical examination;
- Clinical tests;
- Laboratory testing;
- Subtle energy diagnostics.
So essential a part of Naturopathic treatment being the education of
the patient in all elements of healthy living, the naturopath may be expected
to offer well-informed advice in the following areas:
- The Naturopathic principles of health and disease; the reason, or
reasons, why the patient became unwell, what is keeping them unwell,
how they can get well and stay well;
- Diet and nutrition, including nutritional supplementation;
- Detoxification, including fasting and elimination;
- Physical exercise;
- Management of acute diseases and healing crises;
- Hydrotherapy and phytotherapy for home use;
- Breathing and breathing exercises;
- Relaxation and stress management;
- Natural fertility awareness;
- Preconceptual care, pregnancy and – when the naturopath is also
registered to practise as a midwife, or is registered as a medical doctor
– natural childbirth.
To summarise: naturopathy embodies an holistic approach to healthcare,
in which the Naturopathic Practitioner strives to find the cause
of disease by understanding the patient as a totality of body, mind and
spirit; and in the treatment of whom he may deploy a wide spectrum of
therapies and therapeutic techniques.