Sunday, November 28, 2010

7 Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic or Holistic Medicine is based on 7 core principles that together comprise the philosophical foundation at the heart of the treatment modalities. In fact, the reasons we make choices with Naturopathic treatments is more important than the different treatments themselves. It isn’t what we give, but why we give it, that defines Naturopathic Medicine.

Grasping the significance of these 7 principles will be vital to our journey as we describe in future segments the potential of holistic healing.

Support the healing power of nature – The body has an innate wisdom and ability to heal. Too often conventional medical approaches strive to work against this process utilizing pharmaceuticals that suppress the body’s own healing attempts. A holistic approach to healing considers the symptoms of an illness as an indicator of the direction the body is striving to move; and then a specifically chosen modality is utilized to support that healing direction.

Treat the cause – The goal with holistic medicine is always to get to the root cause of the problem. By discovering and addressing the underlying problem, the individual is able to experience healing on the deepest and most lasting level.

Do no harm – At the heart of holistic healing is the principle of Do No Harm. This is a commitment to avoid any potentially detrimental treatment options and to support healing with the most gentle and effective means possible.

Doctor as teacher – When individuals seek to pursue a more healthy and holistic lifestyle, it is imperative that they create a nurturing support system to encourage their growth through the process. The holistic doctor is just one of these important relationships, poised to provide information, alternatives, and support while on this journey.

Treat the whole patient – Illness is not confined to physical complaints. The mental and emotional aspect of patient health is vitally important to healing. It is an unfair approach to disregard the concerns that are not directly related to the patient’s chief complaint or diagnosis. This limited perspective restricts the degree to which healing can actually occur. When the whole person is considered, healing can be profound and lasting.

Always support prevention – As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This statement can not be truer than it is during our time today. The diseases that have become pandemic to our Western society are primarily the results of our poor lifestyle choices. The solution to dealing with the continual rise of high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes is to change the behaviors that have supported this propagation. A focus on prevention encourages the adoption of healthy lifestyle choices that can reverse and/or hinder the development of these chronic diseases in the future.

The principles of Naturopathic Medicine are very simple in theory, but the application of these collectively towards every patient is a difficult task to achieve. We are an impulsive and result driven society that will often forgo the ideal path in lieu of a quick fix and short lived solution. When it comes to our health the “easy way out” will merely trade a symptom today for a more chronic condition down the road. As we embark on this journey together, may we have the patience and the foresight to recognize our own healing potential and the courage to embrace the challenges that this new path my pose.