– Cornelis van Dalen
Naturopathy is a 19th century word meaning “nature cure”
Historically, a Naturopath was one who healed using treatments incorporating water, air, light, good nutritious food, as well as massage, to cleanse, detoxify and stimulate the bodys inborn healing powers. While Naturopathy often brings up ideas of cold baths, exercise, fresh air, it is more subtle and wide-ranging discipline that can help a huge range of ailments as well as maintaining good health.
The tradition of Naturopathic medicine was originally European, with many influential figures as far back as Hippocrates and Paracelsus. Naturopathy can be described as applying external and internal remedies that work deep within the individual and evoke the healing power of the body. Food as medicine is an example of an internal remedy, as too is the use of herbs.
Externally, various massage techniques, aromatherapy, herbal liniments and poultices, exercises, deep breathing, all constitute naturopathic medicine.
A Holistic View
A Naturopath treats the whole person. This distinction of treating the whole person as opposed to the symptoms of disease that the person may be suffering from is what distinguishes Naturopathic/Holistic Medicine from conventional medicine.
The Naturopath takes into consideration the following three factors: physical, mental/emotional and circumstantial. Stress for example, can be termed circumstantial. Stress in turn affects both the physical and emotional well being of the individual. Other important factors which can affect health are the environment in which we live/work and our lifestyles.
The Naturopath will refer to all of these factors in order to diagnose and treat any condition.
A Naturopath sees health and vitality is the natural state of the human mind and body and therefore concentrates on the patients state of health and not the symptoms of disease. Put another way, the Naturopath is more interested in why a patient is ill.
The relationship between the Naturopath and patient is vital to the patients recovery. In order to identify where the cause of disease lies, the patient is encouraged to discuss at length their lifestyle. Perceptive questioning, an empathy with the patient, and drawing upon intuition and insights of the human condition, are very important to the Naturopath. This does not make them psychotherapists but listening to the patient is most important.
Through perceptive questioning the Naturopath often discovers that patients have their own answers, though they may not be aware of it. For example, a patient may consider smoking to be an issue, even though it may not be adversely affecting him or her (which can be the case) but the person’s consumption of a bottle of whiskey per pay, which is really damaging, is dismissed as incidental.
Overeating or consumption of unsuitable foods, abuse of stimulants such as tea, coffee, alcohol, tobacco, or insufficiency of sleep can contribute to disease in the long term. Mental stress is another major contributor to many of the modern diseases. By a process of elimination, the Naturopath can help patients make even simple changes in their lives that will lead to dramatic results. A change in diet might be all that is required to steer a patient back to good health and let nature cure.
A Naturopath may use various diagnostic tools in assessing a patient. Iridology is a traditionally favoured tool for diagnosis. The eyes indicate the truth of body organ systems even before it manifests as a disease.
Additionally, the face, tongue/mouth, and nails give indications of the conditions the patient is experiencing. For those practitioners schooled in Chinese Medicine will usually use pulse diagnosis. One can also diagnose through reflex zones areas which link to various inner organ systems. Kinesiology, or muscle testing, is another informative diagnostic technique.
The Naturopath will also refer to conventional test results that the patient may bring from their doctor or request certain medical tests be done.The Naturopath will seek to identify where the cause of the disease lies. Diabetes, for example, is a symptom, but the Naturopath, in helping to restore health may treat one or several of the major organ systems of the body, most usually the liver, and not necessarily the pancreas.
What can it help?
Naturopathy has solutions for many diseases with natural, non-harmful, non-invasive treatments. No condition need remain untreated or be experimented with. Conditions that respond well to Naturopathic treatment include female disorders of menstrual problems, adverse menopause symptoms, fibroids, polycystic ovary syndrome, and other uterine conditions.
Digestive disorders so common today such as IBS, Candida, Crohns, bowel irregularity, respond remarkably well to sound nutrition and herbal remedies. Even the headache and migraine can be banished forever under the guidance of a Naturopath.
Get rid of toxins
Much of the work of the Naturopath today lays in resolving body toxicity from chemical pollution by industry and drugs, and nutrient deficiency from our poor modern refined foods diet. Toxic chemicals and heavy metals pollute the blood and are difficult for the body to eliminate. These have been implicated in persistent headaches, allergies, and even asthma. Nutrient deficiency of not eating a wide and varied diet does not allow the body to replenish what is used in daily living.
The result: lack of energy, frequent colds and flu, insomnia and leads to many chronic conditions. Arthritis, osteoporosis, and yes cancer, are a result of long-term deficiency and toxicity. The best-known nutritional cure for chronic and degenerative diseases is the Gerson Therapy, but by no means to only one. This uses fresh organic foods and juices to flood the body nutrients to resolve deficiency and eliminate toxicity.
People using this true Naturopathic treatment have documented remarkable recoveries.
Wide variety of therapies
The various therapies offered by the Naturopath are largely dependent of the training of the practitioner. Frequently, nutrition is the cornerstone of treatment: diet of whole and natural foods, for detoxification, acid/alkaline balance, bowel cleansing and good nutrition. The disciplines of herbal medicine, homoeopathy and Chinese medicine and acupuncture are today also part of the modern Naturopathic therapies.
The human body is a tremendous source of energy; you just have to learn how to tap into it. This boundless energy gives us strength and courage to live and also heals.