Article written by Georgia Hartmann
Naturopathy falls under the umbrella term of Complementary Medicine - a broad domain of healing resources other than that provided by the current dominant health system. Complementary medicine encompasses practices including Naturopathy, Osteopathy, Acupuncture, Chiropractor, Massage, Ayurvedic Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine - the list goes on. The idea is that the minds behind these practices work alongside those behind conventional practices, including doctors and nurses, to allow for a holistic approach to health and wellbeing.
Naturopathic medicine combines herbal medicine, nutrition and dietary planning, lifestyle modifications, and other modalities including flower essences, iridology, tissue salts and celloids that prevent and treat illness. It is the art and science of medicine that uses traditional forms of healing combined with modern scientific knowledge.
As a traditional form of healing, the practice of Naturopathy is based upon 6 principles, including the healing power of nature, identifying the cause, treating the whole person, doing no harm, education, and prevention.
1. The Healing Power of Nature
Nature is both perfectly balanced and organized intelligently to create, maintain, repair and destroy matter. The body also has its own intuitive and sophisticated mechanism of healing. Naturopaths use the healing agents provided by nature (air, earth, water and sun), in combination with a clean diet, exercise, adequate sleep, relaxation, meditation, and an optimistic outlook, to promote and support the body’s innate ability to heal.
2. Identify and Treat the Cause
Underpinning this principle is the basic understanding that all illness must have a cause. For health to be restored and optimised, the cause or causes of the disease state must be identified and removed. This is an important principle in Naturopathy. Instead of merely placing a ‘bandaid’ on symptoms to achieve a ‘quick fix’, it is the role of the Naturopath to dig deep and treat the cause of illness.
3. Treat the Whole Person
Health and disease result from an intricate interplay of physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, familial and occupational factors. Failure to address all aspects of health fundamentally ignores the complexity of the human being. As you may be aware, Naturopathy consults are often much longer than those of conventional medicine. This is because Naturopaths take a detailed case history that encompasses all aspects of an individual’s life in order to obtain a holistic understanding of all factors that impact our health.
4. First Do No Harm
As it is the Naturopath’s role to facilitate the body’s natural ability to heal, doing so in a harmless manner is an important principle. Naturopathic practice that respects the principle of harm-free treatment is traditionally noninvasive, and avoids the suppression of symptoms and the prescription of harmful doses of medicine.
5. Naturopath as Teacher
The word doctor has a Latin origin, meaning ‘teacher’. The power to eliminate disease and optimise health lies within the body. In this sense, the Naturopath assumes the role of teacher so as to educate, inspire, motivate, and encourage self-empowerment to the client. In doing so, the client regains power over their health.
Naturopathy is employed to prevent both the sequel of disease states and the development of new states. In a time where medicine is reactive rather than proactive, it is the Naturopath’s role to facilitate disease prevention. After all, prevention is better than cure!
With a holistic approach to health and disease, Naturopathy plays a vital role in modern medicine. By acknowledging and influencing each aspect of an individual’s life, a state of harmony within the body can be achieved; a state that is free of dis-ease.
I’m Georgia – You’ll find me by the sea in Sydney, Australia.
My love for Naturopathy began when my sister was diagnosed with Stage 4 Endometriosis – a condition of the female reproductive system. After numerous surgeries, the only relief she found was attributed to Naturopathic medicine. Amazing, right! I thought so. I now have a strong love for helping women overcome their reproductive issues.