PRINCIPLES OF NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE
First, to do no harm
To co-operate with the healing powers of nature
To address the fundamental causes of disease
To heal the whole person through individualized treatment
To teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine
These principles are what define Naturopathic Medicine and guide Naturopathic Medical practice. They also govern the success of a healing program for you. By becoming familiar with these principles you can become more familiar with a different way of viewing your health. When you enter this new view you will find a great potential open up for you and your own healing. These principles are discussed below.
1) Individualized Treatment:
Your body and mind are completely unique. There is no one remedy, diet or treatment plan that applies to everyone. Certain things will work for you and other things will not. This means you need to understand and learn about your individuality.
The principles of healing are universal, but the way you are treated will be individual.
With my guidance, my clients learn to trust their experience and the wisdom of their bodies. When you are in touch with your body you can feel how it is responding to interventions and changes you make. Many people are not aware of how the food they eat is affecting them. They may feel awful but it has become their normal state and they do not question it. Many people have food sensitivities and myriad reactions to foods and are not aware of it. To be aware of these factors first you need to be free of the reactions. Then when you do have a reaction you will notice it. If you are always experiencing certain discomforts they become normal and you simply accept them. As you become aware you can make choices that will serve your health so you can feel your best. This applies to awareness of your mind and emotions as well. By tuning into these feelings and indications you can learn to know when you are out of balance and how to re-balance yourself.
2) Treat the Whole person:
The whole person must be addressed for healing to take place on the deepest levels. Diet is not enough. We are made of body, emotions, mind and spirit. If we do not acknowledge all these parts of ourselves then healing will be incomplete.
The true payoff in holistic medicine is diving ever deeper into yourself and discovering who you are on all these levels. By opening and relaxing deeper and accepting all these layers of our being we begin to get in touch with a powerful creative impulse-a force of spontaneity and relaxed freedom. This is the true healing power of nature. It is the sense of joy that comes with being who you are. Simple, real, and fully alive.
Disease actually guides us to this state. It shows us the way by taking us into our body and teaching us to listen to our body. This is where we find all the answers. Listening is the first step.
As you come into balance through eating well, exercising, and taking care of your physical body it is easier to notice and listen to the more subtle aspects of emotion and mind and spirit. You will have cleared away some of the more dense toxins that block the flow of vitality. You will have begun to nurture the life force of your body and will feel more energy and aliveness. This will attract your mind and awareness to shine on the deeper aspects of yourself-letting the healing power of nature penetrate and illuminate new dynamics, sensations and processes. As you pay attention you will be shown what lies next on the road to true wholeness.
With the same awareness you used to determine which foods help or hinder you, you examine your relationships and emotional life. Being in touch with your body reveals currents of sensation that are constantly changing in response to the events happening around you. These sensations of energy must be accepted and allowed to move uninhibited through us for health to prevail. Most of us restrict the flow of emotion and are not even aware of it. This has lead to tension in our minds and bodies and disconnected us from who we are on deeper levels. To cope with life we will find ways of dulling our awareness so we can feel pleasant and comforting emotional currents. Watching movies, eating certain foods, taking drugs and drinking alcohol, and certain habits like shopping all help us to bury discomforts. When we learn to accept emotional currents we are letting go of them or letting them be. As we learn to accept and feel these emotions, they will have less power to drive us to unconscious habits that destroy our health. We can then look at and feel these emotions and determine how we want to relate to the situation at hand. We will have the ability to choose how we want to relate to our emotions, people, places and things in our life. We will become aware of how things are affecting us. Our work, relationships, family, community, home, natural environment, food, habits all affect our state of wellness. When we are aware of ourselves we can begin to experiment with changing and trying new ways of being and doing things. This includes changes on the physical level like diet and exercise, emotional changes like learning how to express ourselves differently, mental changes like having different goals, and spiritual changes like trusting the process of life itself and giving up fear and doubt.
All of these facets are intimately connected and essentially one. We are whole people. Our lives are a dynamic process which includes all levels of our being. Disease and discomfort can originate from any one or more of these levels at once. Awareness will lead us into knowing what the cause of the discomfort is. With awareness comes the power of choice. With choice we will gain a new level of freedom. With this freedom comes more energy, inspiration and even more awareness which can take us deeper yet.
Healing is an unfolding and a releasing. As we release we expand and connect with more of who we are. This will guide our lives in new directions as we listen to the urging of our deepest desires coming from our authentic self. This natural way of being is the joy of healing and the real payoff.
3) Treat the Cause:
To treat the cause of disease is linked to treating the whole person. There are many facets to our being and these must all be integrated and accepted for us to feel whole and connected to who we are on a deep level. We get sick when we have not integrated some knowledge, experience or aspect of ourselves. If we push symptoms and discomforts away with symptomatic treatments we are not addressing the cause. When we do this the disease pattern remains hidden from our awareness to some degree depending on how powerful the suppressing agent is. The disease pattern is still present and will manifest itself in another way over time. We cannot escape the laws of nature. Certain requirements must be met for health to prevail.
We need to eat and live properly to support harmony on the physical level. This cannot be ignored. When we eat unbalancing foods and neglect to exercise we will have difficulty with other areas of our lives because we will not feel our best. These feelings will distract us and demand our attention until we bring ourselves into balance. Many diseases are contributed to by faulty habits of living. When we feel the difference healthy lifestyle habits make in our lives we will easily choose the way of health over non-health promoting choices. The path to wellness is not one of burden, but one of empowerment. Nobody is forcing you to make changes. When you have the right relationship to the process you will see that you do it for your own benefit and you will want to. Then you will see how your own benefit is tied into the benefit for others. Ultimately we are all one and what is healing for me will generally be my way of serving the greater good. So you eventually become motivated to heal yourself for the benefit of others. When you yourself are in balance you are able to be there for others to help them find their own way to balance.
We must endeavor to understand and become aware of ourselves if we wish to heal and experience the deeper joys life has to offer. By knowing ourselves we will know the cause of dis-ease and the cause of disconnection with our authentic power and true nature. When we explore the cause of dis-ease within ourselves we enter into the process of healing. With awareness we learn about our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual selves.
It is not a great mystery what causes our illnesses. We probably experience the causes of disease each day of our life. We just need to be honest with ourselves and pay attention to our experience. It is often helpful to work with a professional who can help bring awareness to these patterns.
What are you feeling? What are you thinking about? Our minds will naturally be drawn to think about issues that we are stuck on. If we can have the courage to bring conscious awareness to these thoughts and feelings we can begin to understand them and untangle the knots of tension—physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. We can learn to find a higher vantage point or a deeper place within ourselves to live from. If we try to push these feelings and thoughts away by distracting ourselves with unhealthy activities or suppressive treatments we do a disservice to ourselves, and the world around us. The tensions are allowed to build and fester as we dampen and block our vitality. This affects not only ourselves, but everyone around us.
Sometimes we need to treat symptoms of disease for practical purposes and out of compassion. We do not, however, want to treat symptoms and ignore the underlying cause. This would not be in service of the good health of people or the planet. Treating the cause of disease is done from the knowledge that there is a way out of disease and to a state of harmony. This knowledge becomes wisdom as we experience healing and embody the truth and joy which is the fruit of the healing process.
4) Work with the Healing power Of Nature/The Vis Medicatrix Naturae:
This creative power exists as an unseen constructive force within all living things. When you cut your skin it heals on its own. As long as the proper conditions are supplied for healing to occur (a clean wound, healthy immune system etc) the skin will heal on its own. We do not need to do anything. This is a great mystery to all scientists and people who have studied this process. We can watch all the cells of the body in action and explain what we see but we cannot understand the underlying motivation for all this activity. The human mind is incapable of understanding how or why this power exists. It simply does. This is what humbles me as a Naturopathic Doctor, because I know I cannot heal anything. I can only provide knowledge and wisdom-which come from understanding the laws of Nature. I can only understand what supports the Vis Medicatrix Naturae and supply that. I can only understand what is blocking the vitality and remove that. Many times I cannot even remove these blocks because it is not my place to do so. The individual must remove these blocks him or herself. The individual must learn for themselves what harmony is. My job is simply to help this person make choices by teaching, and supporting self-awareness, and providing treatments that support the healing power of nature.
When people make this shift with awareness they step into a more energized way of being and living. This increase in life energy and freedom is what ultimately leads to healing. We learn to pay attention to our vitality in the process of healing. We learn to listen to the energy of life within us and by doing so we can understand and experience what is in harmony with the Vis and what is not. Physicians, books, healers and teachers can give us guidance but cannot reveal what is true for any one individual. We will point the way, and you will be in charge of trusting your own experience and being your own healer. Nobody can do that for you.
With Naturopathic treatment you will begin to let go of blocks to your vitality. You will learn to develop healthy habits and you will become more sensitive to your body. At first there may be a lot of confusion, and it may be difficult to discern the messages your body is giving you. When the vitality is strengthened and allowed to do its work you may experience a “healing crisis”. This can be likened to the process of sweeping out a dusty room. As you sweep, the dust is stirred up creating a polluted environment. This discomfort is necessary to endure to get to the point where the room is clean. As your body clears itself of toxins you will eventually develop more clarity and sensitivity. Over time you will begin to understand and know for yourself what choices are healing and what choices are not. A healing crisis is not necessary however. People will often heal and recuperate gently and steadily without a healing crisis.
When you are finally working from a place of relative balance and awareness, you will be able to detect when you move away from that balance point and when you return. As your vitality increases you may go through more short periods of low energy or discomfort as your body and mind continue to clear themselves of unnecessary physical, emotional and mental toxins. You will learn to recognize this as a sign of healing and simply allow the process to happen. You will allow it to happen because you know that more energy and greater levels of health lie on the other side of the healing crisis. If we suppress its action we dampen its power and we allow the dust to collect. The dust and toxicity are what lead to disease. The healing power of nature cannot be controlled, only guided. We must learn to respect its intelligence and work with it. We do this by connecting to our body, emotions and mind and being aware of our experience.
“Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world; all knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it”
5) Do No Harm:
In respecting the Vis we choose gentle therapies which are not toxic to the living organism. We practice simplicity in our life and healing process and remain humble to the laws of Nature. This is common sense it would seem.
Naturopathic Medicine strives to align itself with the highest ideals of healing. This means respecting natural laws and striving to understand how to align ourselves with nature. We cannot ignore these laws and expect to be healthy. In my practice I help to guide you on the path of healing and help teach you how to care for yourself without doing harm.
6) Doctor as Teacher:
Another one of the principles by which Naturopathic Doctors guide their practice is “Doctor as Teacher”. Doctor comes from the latin word docere which means teacher. As my client or student I will supply you with information so that you can heal yourself. Nobody can do the work of healing for you. This is the illusion that many people are under because of the way many modern doctors practice medicine. Patients are simply given pills to take or instructed to undergo surgical procedures. This gives people the feeling like they are not in control of their health. In reality, you are the only one who can let go of the causes of illness and replace these unhealthy habits of body and mind with healthier habits. A doctor simply supports you in this process. A Naturopath or other holistic health practitioner will help you to understand the cause of your illness and then guide you in understanding how to manage it.
My intention in relationships with clients is that they are empowered in a new view of health and healing. We hope that you will take your health back into your own hands and begin the process of healing yourself. There are so many options available to those who are ill. The problem is often that people are not aware of what will be helpful for them. It is important to be discerning in your choices. Educate yourself and choose wisely.
I spend a lot of time educating people through my radio show and through the courses I teach. Please tune into the show every Monday through Trent Radio’ website: http://www.trentradio.ca/trentradio
If you are interested in having Adam come to teach a course then please contact him at email@example.com
or call 705.748-3877.