Naturopathy is a system of health care that looks at the inseparable nature of the body, mind, spirit, soul, environment and social aspects of a person. It supports one’s own innate healing capacity and encourages optimal vitality, not simply functional wellness. In its essence, it is prevention medicine, however in today’s world it also first line illness and disease treatment, whilst integrating with modern medicine.
Naturopathy uses natural medicines such as herbs, diet, nutrients, body work and life style counselling to enhance well-being. Although it is natural it is by no means devoid of modern science. Naturopathy is a true blend of the modern understanding of health, disease and nutrition whilst respecting that the body has the innate wisdom to heal itself.
The innate wisdom of the body or our innermost nature has naturally occurring rhythms and cycles that govern every one of us. It is the living of these natural rhythms with an honouring of the natural cycles within which we live that ultimately brings about true health and quality of well-being.
Naturopathy is founded on six main principles, with the underlying philosophy of treating the whole person, as beautifully expressed by Plato:
The six main naturopathic principles are
First Do No Harm Primum Non Nocere
Treatment is chosen (or not chosen) based on doing no harm to the person. Carefully chosen to not exacerbate symptoms, cause deleterious side or toxicity effects, or cause serious discomfort to the client. On a deeper level treatment and advice is chosen so as to not perpetuate disharmony or disconnection in the patient.
The Healing Power of Nature Vis Mediatrix Naturae
The body has an inherent wisdom to heal itself. This is easily observed in its constant attempt to self-correct. Our inbuilt homoeostatic mechanism is itself evidence of the body’s ability to continuously seek balance and harmony within. Nature is itself inherently respectful of this process, for the most part providing an array of plants and substances that once understood in their true nature, can support the body to heal. However, these substances cannot, in themselves, resolve a disharmonious state if that disharmony remains unresolved in its origin. Thus, a reductionist view of using ‘green’ medicine to ‘cure’ symptoms is avoided.
Identify and Treat the Cause Tolle Causam
Therapeutic actions should always be complementary to the true healing process, initiated from within the client themselves in the engagement of their essence and not designed simply to alleviate symptoms to bring about a relief alone from a presenting complaint but to treat the root cause of the presentation. We are not merely physical beings but affected by energy all of the time. When we live disconnected to who we truly are (our essence) we start the process of disharmony and eventually a physical illness or disease manifests if the disharmony is not cleared.
Heal the Whole Person
The whole person is fully considered here and not just in terms of their physical, social and environmental systems but treating “The Whole Person” is based on the foundation that we are energy first before we are physical. This is integral to understanding that our thoughts and thus the choices we make in life have an energetic root.
The Physician as Teacher
The practitioner is there to facilitate and encourage healing, but is in fact NOT the “healer”, the client initiates their own healing from within, impulsed to arrest the energy and thus behaviours that have led to ill health. There is a significant role of the practitioner to empower clients, allowing the client to take responsibility through understanding the central part they have in fact played in the creation of their own ill conditions. The practitioner has a huge responsibility for living their truth and harmony, to offer the client a lived experience and reflection rather than rules on how to live.
Prevention is the best cure
Supporting clients to take responsibility for their choices, encouraging them to act well before any manifestations of symptoms. Supporting one to stay healthy and proactive rather than trying to fix something that is broken, is far easier for all involved.