– Stephen Langley, ND
Naturopathy or Nature Cure is underpinned by a fundamental principle – vis medicatrix naturae – the healing power of nature. This was made clear twenty-five centuries ago when Hippocrates said Health is the expression of a harmonious balance between various components of mans nature, the environment and ways of lifenature is the physician of disease.
Man was part of nature and the universe, and health was achieved by living in accordance with this principle. Harmony was fostered with proper nutrition, water treatments, rest, sunshine and fasting.
Medicine, religion and science were intimately related and man was seen as a whole-a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being. The same vital force or chi (qi) that made up the universe and nature flowed through man and it was his dislocation from this source that caused illness. Early naturopaths realised that if you could restore the vital force to the patient, the body would naturally heal itself.
The body has this capacity to heal itself if given the right conditions and naturopathy along with acupuncture, homoeopathy and most other holistic modalities subscribes to this basic understanding of the bodys own innate intelligence.
Modern orthodox medicine, apart from all its positive and beneficial attributes, does not subscribe to this idea of wholism or to the importance of prevention. As long ago as the second century BC, the Yellow Emperor, in the Classic of Internal Medicine, said A doctor who treats a disease after it has happened is a mediocre doctor..a doctor who treats a disease before it happens is a superior doctor. Indeed Chinese physicians were paid to keep their patients healthy and were either dismissed or not paid if the patient became ill. This ensured a health system, not an ill health system, as we know it. Unfortunately this understanding has changed to a new paradigm-wait until it is broken and then fix it. This is not intelligent medicine and part of a naturopaths role is empowering the patient to take responsibility for his or her own health. This is not always an easy task amid a hostile environment of toxins and chemicals.
The modern day naturopath faces many more challenges than those of their forefathers. Most of us now live in a sea of electromagnetic pollution, coupled with a plethora of chemical pollutants which were completely alien to man 40 years ago. Add to this a dose of denatured food fast-tracked by technology and we have a heady mix a health problem waiting to happen. In short most people have too much of what they shouldnt have in their bodies and not enough of what they should have.
The naturopath of today needs a very eclectic approach to meet these challenges and guide their patients back to vibrant health. Whilst never losing sight of the basic fundamentals of the naturecure, the modern-day naturopath might employ a raft of skills such as herbs, homoeopathy, manipulation, flower essences, acupuncture or biochemical supplementation to augment their work. These may be necessary to offset many of the suppressions brought about through living in our modern times with all its concomitant stresses that seek to strangle the life force in our bodies.
This excerpt was taken from The Naturopathy Workbook by Stephen Langley, MSc, ND, DipHom, DBM, DipAc, OMD.
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Stephen Langley MSc, ND, DipHom, DBM, DipAc, OMD, is a registered Naturopath, Homoeopath, Acupuncturist and Medical Herbalist. He has appeared on a number of television and radio programs concerning a wide range of health issues as well as being a regular contributor in the press for articles on health and healing. Stephen has studied Holistic Medicine in China, India, Hawaii, Australia, Tibet and Japan and has given talks on Naturopathic Medicine in many countries around the world.