Naturopathic Philosophy & the Principles of Naturopathy
Naturopathy is a natural whole person approach to health and healing. It addresses disease through addressing the causes of disease while reactivating & supporting the individuals inherent healing capacities.
The practice of Naturopathy includes the 6 underlying principles of healing which are based on the observation of health and disease.
The following principles make the Naturopathic approach different from many orthodox medical approaches:
First do no harm:
Illness and its symptoms are a naturally intelligent process of the organism. Symptoms are expression of the innate life force attempting to heal itself and restore balance. Ideally therapeutic intervention should be complementary to and synergistic with this healing process. The practitioners actions can support or antagonize the actions of the healing power of Nature. Methods designed to suppress symptoms without addressing the underlying causes are considered harmful and to be avoided or minimized unless in critical care situations
The healing power of nature:
The body and nature has an inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. This process is seen to be ordered and intelligent. The therapists role is to facilitate this process by helping dentify and remove obstacles to health and recovery and restore a healthy internal and external environment.
Identify and treat the cause:
Imbalances in the system do not occur without causes. Underlying causes of disease ideally should be discovered and removed or treated before a person can recover from illness. Symptoms express the body's attempt to heal, but are seen not the cause of disease. Naturopath’s believe symptoms, should not be suppressed by treatment unless there are no other options available at the time . Causes may occur on many levels including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Practitioners must evaluate fundamental underlying causes on all levels, directing treatment at root causes rather than only at symptomatic expression. Naturopaths can help provide symptomatic relieve however as part of the overall approach.
Whole Person Healing:
Health and disease are conditions of the whole organism, a whole involving the complex interaction of many factors, including the environment, relationships & community. The naturopath must ideally treat the whole person by taking all these factors into account. The balanced functioning of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual areas are important for recovery from and prevention of disease. This means a comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment using information from as many sources as possible.
The physician as teacher:
A cooperative therapist patient relationship has its own important therapeutic value. The practitioners major role is to educate and encourage the patient to taking more responsibility for their own health. The practitioner can be a catalyst for healthful change, empowering and motivating the patient to assume responsibility through education, insight, understanding & emotional support. It is the patient, not the doctor/practitioner, who is ultimately in the healing & controlling seat.
Prevention “the best cure”:
The ultimate goal of any health care system should be prevention of disease. This is accomplished through education and promotion of life-habits that create good health. The physician learns to assess risk factors and to sharpen their deductive reasoning, and understand the patient's circumstances. Appropriate interventions are then sought to avoid further harm or risk to the patient. This may include medical intervention.