NATUROPATHY: THE HEALING POWER OF NATURE
“The body has this capacity to heal itself if given the right conditions and naturopathy, along with acupuncture, homoeopathy, herbal medicine, and most other holistic modalities subscribes to this basic understanding of the body’s own innate intelligence” – Steven Langley
Naturopathic medicine is a therapeutic system which utilizes natural therapeutic procedures to aid the body in healing itself. Coined in 1895 by John Scheel and its first application dating back to the ancient Greek, naturopathy comprises many therapies including but not limited to herbal therapy, massage, acupuncture, exercise, and nutritional therapy. A naturopathic doctor, or simply put, a naturopath, is a practitioner who applies the principles of naturopathy to the management of various pathological conditions.
As the spectrum of naturopathy continues to expand, modern naturopaths have gone beyond conventional natural therapies to modern procedures such as bio-resonance, ozone therapy and colon hydrotherapy. A naturopath can, through a number of diagnostic alternatives, determine an anomaly in the body before the outset of signs and symptoms.
Contrary to popular belief by the uninformed public, naturopaths are recognized practitioners and also have to get an accredited degree from an accredited graduate institution. A naturopath can work in a wide range of settings. These include but not limited to hospitals, healthcare centers, family consultancy and beauty clinics. Sometimes, a naturopath can be the last possible option in a patient’s search to a solution towards a health problem.
Principles of Naturopathy
The principles of naturopathy which are followed by modern naturopaths of today were first used by the ancient Greek, particularly the Hippocratic School of Medicine. Hippocrates placed his belief on the fact that, in regards to a disease, a person should be seen as a holistic being and nature should be used as the primary cure to disease. Today, the practice of naturopathy is based on the following principles:
• Nature’s therapeutic power – That is, nature has the ability to heal.
• Identification of the cause of a disease and treatment of the disease.
• Do no harm.
• See the individual as a holistic being: Naturopaths see the individual as holistic being. When preparing a therapy, all aspects of the individual are taken into consideration.
• To teach others: A naturopath will inform the patient about his condition.
• Prevention is better than cure: A naturopath believes in the prevention of disease. Hence, a naturopath will advise a patient on good lifestyle measures to prevent the outset of diseases.
AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF A NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIAN
The grand purpose of naturopathic treatment is the restoration of health. However, this may not be achievable if the physician lacks the skills and expertise to attend to a variety of patients. While treating patients, naturopathic doctors pay attention to:
• Eliminating the accumulation of waste and foreign substances from the body. other times, a naturopath assist nature to achieve this because she might have established her own procedures of cleansing and regeneration.
• Arousing the purification and elimination of toxic substances from organs so they can function better.
• Freeing blood vessels, nerves and lymphatic system from unwarranted pressure and obstruction.
• Restoring disordered and diseased tissues and organs back to their normal blood supply and innervations.
• Relieving nervous and muscular tension while toning up the nervous system.
• Ensuring stability of the glandular activities and enhancing the essential forces.
• Supplying the cell-salts needed by the body and restoring the disturbed body chemistry by supplying tissue remedies.
• Freeing the body from the effects of infection by lowering and removing the infection points.
• Correcting every discoverable anomaly found in the joints, muscles, tissues, organs and system.
• Advising patients on sanitation, hygiene, disease prevention and living in accordance with nature’s principles of health.
• Counseling patients on personal adjustments including mental and emotional life, personal habits and mode of living including discouraging excess intake of foods and the fact that there is no incurable disease, though there may be incurable cases.
How Does It Work?
When you go to see a naturopath, he will often take about an hour to have a consultation with you. Within this time, the naturopath will ask you some questions in order to get a good medical history. These questions include but not limited to, your presenting compliant, any treatment you might have been taking prior to the consultation, your family history, marital status and lifestyle.
Further physical examination and biochemical tests may be done to ascertain the cause of your complaint. The naturopath may examine your eyes (with special emphasis on your iris), nails, tongue and your abdomen (looking for areas of swelling and tenderness). Biochemical tests which may be done include blood analysis, sputum analysis and urinalysis. Once the consulting naturopath has been able to gather all these information, he will then make an accurate diagnosis as well as formulate a treatment plan for your condition. The treatment plan will of course, base solely on natural remedies such as nutritional therapy, lifestyle and/or herbal therapy.
• Nutritional therapy: Nutritional therapy is a major part of the naturopath’s remedy. This is because poor dieting reduces the competence of the immune system and makes the body susceptible to a host of infections.
• Herbal therapy: Naturopaths utilize the innate power of nature to cure diseases through the use of herbs. Many herbs are of medicinal benefit.
• Homeopathy: Naturopaths use homeopathic remedies to stimulate the body.
• Hydrotherapy (water therapy). This involves the use of water to treat various ailments. For example, hot and cold water compresses can be used to increase blood circulation.
• Physical therapies – These may include but not limited to massage, acupuncture and mechanotherapy.
• Counseling: As part of the treatment procedures, a naturopath will also counsel a patient on important areas of health which will help the healing process. These counsels are usually for stress management and emotional relief.