Naturopathic medicine celebrates the healing power of nature through to its core. It's roots go back to the beginning of healing itself, but its ability to evolve allows it to exist on the cutting edge of modern medicine.
Naturopathic doctors go into every consult with 6 principles in mind. They are guidelines by which a Naturopath directs their sessions and guides their patients towards well-being.
These 6 Principles are...
#1: First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)
From a Naturopathic perspective, we ensure the safety of our clients by:
· Taking great care to ensure that there aren't any contraindications between pharmaceutical medications and naturopathic remedies.
· Using natural and non-invasive strategies to support and assist the innate healing ability of the individual.
· Acknowledging and respecting that each individual's healing process will look different.
· Empowering our clients through education. This allows them to safely and confidently make changes to their lifestyle and diet so that they may improve their wellbeing and reduce their state of dis - ease. Thus, reducing the suppression of symptoms and increasing health and healing.
#2: The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)
The Healing Power of Nature is a core principle that Naturopathic Clinicians follow. It recognises the body's inherent ability to heal itself and the therapies used by practitioners to aid this.
The body is a dynamic, complex system that is constantly working to repair and regenerate itself. A great example of this is cutting yourself or getting a small, surface scrape. Your blood will clot together to heal the wound, because the vessels inside of your body are designed to transport nutrients and oxygen to the tissue. Your immune system will also be activated, which protects you against foreign bodies. All of these remarkable processes happen until your body reaches a state of repair. This also extends beyond just physical injuries, with organs like our liver and stomach constantly regenerating and replacing cells daily.
As practitioners we identify the external & internal factors that may interfere with the 'natural' processes of healing. This includes things like genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors. We then utilise the remedies from nature such as food, nutrition, and herbal medicine to individualise your treatment plan, bringing you back to a state of health by treating the root cause. Often many of our treatment plans will include basic tips like reconnecting to nature, with clinically validated researching showing the extraordinary benefits of connecting to the natural world around you for stress reduction.
So remember! The power to heal is within you, and as Naturopaths we are here to guide and facilitate that journey. Respect for nature is at the heart of Naturopathic Medicine.
#3: Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam)
As Naturopaths, we strive to thoroughly understand each client’s condition by evaluating the whole person in order to find the “root cause” of the condition. This allows us to identify and analyse what is causing the underlying imbalance in health.
Because symptoms are the expressions of the body and not the root of a disease, Naturopathic treatments address the ‘disturbances’ standing in the way of healing, rather than just focusing on the individual presenting symptoms. You could say that we seek out the cause to understand the symptoms.
We aim to restore the client’s health, by support of the body’s natural healing mechanism and allowing a person's body to bring itself back into homeostasis.
We are the guide's, but the body does the work.
#4: Doctor as Teacher (Docere)
Educating and supporting patients on personal health management is an important role for Naturopathic doctors. They empower patients to take responsibility for their own health and they also acknowledge the therapeutic value inherent in the doctor-patient relationship.
Naturopathic practitioners facilitate and create spaces to support and educate their clients on how they can be the best version of themselves.
At the core, Naturopaths follow an individualised patient centred approach, which means connection, clear communication and collaborative decision making.
Take a moment to reflect on the mentors and teachers you have crossed paths with. Many of the learnings that stick to mind would be due to their empathy and the space they held for you - connection.
When you understand what is going on in your body, and are supported to take a role in the healing process, it is not only liberating, but you also attain sustainable change for optimal health.
#5: Treat the Whole Person (Tolle Totum)
William Osler, MD, once said, "It is more important to know what sort of patient has a disease rather than what sort of disease a patient has."
As Naturopaths, we are not only addressing the obvious presenting complaints, but the whole person. When assessing for the cause(s) of symptoms, it will often be revealed that the patient’s initial presenting complaint is far more complex and involves multiple body systems.
Because of this, we assess the whole person, not just their physical body, but also an individuals physical, emotional, mental, genetic, social, environmental and spiritual factors to understand their health. This helps us to tailor the treatment specifically to that patient and treat the person rather than treating the disease.
We believe that the harmonious functioning of all aspects of the individual is essential to their health.
#6: Prevention (Praevenic)
Prevention is always better than a cure!
As naturopaths, one of our main jobs is to prevent disease from occurring. This is done by treating the underlying causes of people’s health issues and symptoms via diet and lifestyle interventions as well as herbal and nutritional supplementation. This is to ensure our patient's symptoms don’t manifest into fully fledged chronic diseases.
This is why naturopaths are complimentary to medical doctors as we can be the first line of treatment to prevent disease before it occurs. Once a disease manifests in a person's body, it becomes much harder to treat and manage. This is because physiological changes occur that can make it hard to decrease and reverse symptoms.
So if you are suffering from health issues and symptoms that are affecting your quality of life, find out how diet and lifestyle changes, as well as supplementation can be used to treat your issues and prevent them from manifesting into something more serious.
Naturopathy prioritizes the most harmonious, least invasive, and least toxic techniques and therapies possible to treat disease and promote wellness. It has a philosophy that roots itself in holism and celebrates connection between all things.
More than anything else, Naturopathy honours the body's innate wisdom to heal itself and gifts patients with the tools that they will need to thrive long-term.