Natural therapies are based on Vitalism and Holism. Health is seen as good vitality with balance and harmony throughout the whole person.
Our health functions as a whole, unified, complex system in balance. When any one part of our human experience is in distress then our entire sense of being may suffer.
Naturopathic medicine addresses itself to the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of those who come for care.
The naturopathic approach emphasises:
- each person’s genetic, biological, and psychosocial uniqueness as well as the importance of tailoring treatment to meet each individual’s need
- understanding and treating people in the context of their culture, their family and their community
- health as a positive state, not as an absence of disease
- the promotion of health and the prevention of disease
- having responsibility for your own health. Good health is a way of life in how we eat, drink, breathe, sleep, eliminate toxins, relate to others, exercise etc.
- therapeutic approaches that mobilise the individual’s innate capacity for self-healing
- helping people to understand and to help themselves, using education and self-care rather than treatment and dependence (while not denying the occasional necessity for swift and authoritative medical or surgical intervention)
- the use of a variety of diagnostic methods and systems in addition to and sometimes in place of the standard laboratory examinations
- good nutrition and regular exercise
- that illness can be seen as an opportunity for discovery as well as a misfortune
- an appreciation of the quality of life in each of its stages and an interest in improving it as well as knowledge of the illnesses that are common to it
- the potential therapeutic value of the setting in which health care takes place
- that an understanding and commitment to change those social and economic conditions that perpetuate ill health are as much a part of holistic medicine as its emphasis on individual responsibility
- the transformation of its practitioners as well as its patients
Ill health is a disturbance of vital energy. Whilst we agree with modern pathology about the causes of disease (cellular dysfunction, genetics, accidents, poisons, and microbes) naturopathic philosophy further believes that our vital force determines our susceptibility, the amount of treatment, vigour of treatment and the speed of recovery .Those with poor vitality will succumb more quickly, require more treatment, need gentler treatments and take longer to recover.
Factors influencing our vital force
- Constitutional strength – the physical and mental attributes we are born with. This includes genetics, temperament, the inherent strengths and weaknesses of different systems within the body.
- Toxaemia – external (pollution, pesticides, drugs etc) and internal (metabolic by-products, cell waste etc) Organs of detoxification – liver, kidney and lymph. Organs of elimination – bowel, gallbladder, bladder, respiratory, skin.
- Emotions and relationships
- Philosophy, religion and an ethical life.
- Community and ecology.