What is Naturopathy?
In the dictionary, Naturopathic Medicine is defined as, “the integration of alternative practices such as Botanical Medicine, Homeopathy, Acupuncture, and Oriental Medicine with modern scientific diagnostic methods and standard of care.” In a few words, Naturopathy is the usage of natural methods and non-toxic remedies to improve or restore health.
Naturopathy has been around for centuries. The Chinese are known for their usage of acupuncture. The Greeks and especially Hippocrates described in their literature many Naturopathic principles like the usage and benefits of water, diet, massage, herbs and physical therapies. During the 19th century, Naturopathy was extensively developed with more than 20 Naturopathic schools in the United States (today there are only four). The practice of Naturopathic medicines declined as the use of pharmaceutical drugs increased. However, in the past several decades there has been a resurgence of interest in Naturopathy. Today there are more people consulting a natural health practitioner in the United States than their primary care practitioner.
The body’s inherent ability to heal itself: The body, with the appropriate use of non-toxic remedies, has the ability to recover its initial functions. For that to be accomplished, the Naturopath needs to investigate and find all the different causes of the symptoms expressed by the patient by conducting a very detailed questionnaire. Then, if it is possible, the naturopath will help the patient to remove, one by one, the obstacles (physical and emotional) that blocked the body to use its own self-healing process.
The notion of intoxination: Naturopaths consider that one of the reasons why people get sick is because their body is intoxicated by the consumption of too many chemicals and prescription drugs, as well as inappropriate diet. Thus, the Naturopath’s first goal is to help the patient to clear this state of intoxination.
Prevent and educate: Information and education are very important keys given to the patients to improve their quality of life. The Naturopath carefully and thoroughly explains to his patients how to eat better, how to exercise, and how to prevent most of the current diseases. This helps the patients to become more autonomous by a better understanding of how their bodies work. Thus, a typical Naturopathic consultation includes not only the recommendation of certain remedies, but also the explanation of the reasons the body may malfunctions. As a consequence, the patient becomes more and more knowledgeable and responsible for his own health.
The idea of the Whole Person: To really understand and find the primary causes of a person’s disease, Naturopaths always consider all the factors integrated in the patient’s lives. This includes their physical health, but also their psychological and emotional state, their environment, their genetic inheritance, and their professional and social life.
Nutrition: Good nutrition is the foundation of good health. Naturopaths take a considerable time to explain to their patient how their diet is important to improve their health conditions. A personalized nutrition program is built with the patient to meet his personal needs depending of his health problems. Generally, improvements appear very quickly if the patient follows the diet recommendations faithfully.
Every person is unique:
Naturopathy is very aware of the individuality of a person. As everyone is a very unique human being with his own past, his own story and his own sufferings, every treatment is personally adapted to fulfill each patient. Because everyone has a different health history, there is not a standard treatment and not a standard dosage of the remedies. Instead, Naturopaths recommend a specific and unique treatment to each individual.
What are the different techniques utilized in Naturopathy?
They are many different techniques used in the domain of Naturopathy, and each Naturopath chooses his/her own specialties during his/her studies. Those techniques are for example: Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Reflexology, different types of Massages Therapies, Iridology, Herbal medicine, Nutritional Therapy, Counseling, Mind-body therapy, Applied Kinesiology, or Cranio-sacral Therapy. We will detail some of them:
Only whole food based supplements are used to improve or restore one’s health. An unhealthy body has a lot of needs for supplements but only if when they are of the best quality can they be assimilated properly. Chemically made or extracted types of vitamins are at the most not efficient, at worst harmful.
Plants are used in different forms such as the entire plant in a tea (fresh or dried), a mother tincture (plant in alcohol), or as dried plants put in capsules. Throughout the ages people have turned to herbal medicine for healing. Many drugs used today originated in the herbal traditions of various cultures such as the medication commonly used for heart failure, digitalis, which is derived from Foxglove. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4 billion people or 80% of the world’s population use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary care.
Homeopathy is a 200-year-old practice developed by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann. It is based of two main principles. The first one states that a substance that can cause certain symptoms when given to a healthy person can cure the same symptoms in someone who is sick. The second states that the more substance is diluted, the more potent it becomes. Homeopathy is a very useful technique that has its best results on chronic symptoms because it really works on the origins of the disease.
What can Naturopathy address?
Naturopathy can improve and/or resolve almost all types of health problems from acute to chronic symptoms. Indeed, there are limitations for Naturopathic medicine, as for any type of technique or method. Naturopathy doesn’t perform miracles. Today there is more scientific research conducted on natural remedies to understand how they work. More and more physicians are accepting the concept of Naturopathy. Naturopathy can help in certain areas where conventional medicine cannot. But, Naturopathy also needs the competence of conventional medicine. Naturopathy is in fact a complementary medicine. When naturopathic and conventional medicine work together, all the benefits accrue for the patients, and that is certainly the most important.
Anyone who is concerned about his own health and wants to eliminate or reduce the use of chemicals medications. Anyone who wants a better understanding on how to prevent illness and cure it with natural remedies. Anyone who is ready to make changes in his/her way of living and thinking. Naturopathy is wonderful for babies, children, adults and the elderly. It is a family orientated medicine that can improve everyone’s health. “The body is the temple of the soul”, and we need to take care of our body very carefully if we want to live a happy and healthy life.
Beatrice Levinson is a Naturopath and submitted this article to MBHA as a member and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. For more information about membership, contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com
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