Naturopathy is a holistic and individualised approach to providing a broad range of therapeutic remedial treatments to establish or restore a healthy internal and external environment to overcome abnormal states of health that disrupt and alter the healthy function of the body.
Naturopathy’s foundation principles include:
• First, do no harm (Primum non nocere);
• The healing power of nature (Vis medicatrix naturae): the therapeutic approach acknowledges the body having an inherent / innate self-healing ability to establish, maintain and restore healthy function;
• Treat the “whole person” (Tolle totum): A holistic approach takes into account the complex interaction of
many factors to re-establish harmonious functioning and well-being;
• Identify and address the cause of disease (Tolle causam): The underlying root cause of dis-ease must be investigated and remedied in order to recover equilibrium. Merely suppressing symptoms, to alleviate discomfort associated with the body’s expression in its attempt to heal, is insufficient;
• Prevention is the best cure: promoting life-sustaining habits that maintain health is preferable to contending with disease;
• Educate (Docere): sharing information and providing an understanding of the requirements for well-being encourages and empowers individuals to participate in taking responsibility for their health.
Recognising the integrity of the whole person, the naturopath’s role is to assess risk factors, including heredity and susceptibility to disease taking into consideration the individual’s unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, family, social, cultural and spiritual factors, including diet and living habits that influence personal well-being.
Naturopaths respect that every person is unique and that any set of symptoms that are a result of that individual’s unique expression of dis-ease, that can arise from different causes. A person’s health status is assessed and treated in a manner with respect to the uniqueness of each person and their disease presentation.
Naturopaths use a variety of assessment tools to understand the context of disease and identify the underlying causes of ill-health. Assessments tools may include: comprehensive questionnaires, taking careful note of symptoms, diet and habitual living habits; palpation, percussion and auscultation; observations of pulse, movement, tongue, nail and facial appearances; bioimpedence, sphygmomanometer, stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, otoscope, and darkfield microscopy; kinesiology and iridology.
Along with the usual common blood tests that check lipids, liver enzymes, kidney function, endocrine function, inflammatory markers etc., tests may also check for nutritional deficiency, toxins such as insecticides, herbicides, heavy metals, allergies, pathogenic micoorganisms and parasites.
Naturopathic therapies utilise Nature’s resources that are selected to work with the person’s vital force, respecting and assisting the body’s natural healing processes. This healing is facilitated by fresh air and sunshine, clean water, wholesome unprocessed foods, exercise, relaxation and restful sleep. Pharmacognosy that blends centuries-old knowledge and current peer-reviewed research assist with differentiating and selecting appropriate treatment protocols.
The purpose of compiling a series of treatments and health care recommendations, each of which is individually tailored to is to treat that particular person, to remedy obstacles to good health and support and improve each person’s innate self-healing processes and their capacity for good health. Naturopathic philosophy acknowledges the dynamic interrelationships within the body, the mind and the person’s environment and that a harmonious relationship has a beneficial synergistic effect conducive to creating optimal health.
A wide array of therapeutic modalities are incorporated into a treatment protocol and may include: nutritional recommendations, supplements and botanical herbal elixirs and salves that provide key raw materials for the body, hydrotherapy, manual body treatments that include massage, acupressure and soft tissue neuromuscular treatments to promote structural integrity and improved function; herbs, homeobotanicals, flower essences, homoeopathy, exercise and lifestyle guidance.
Naturopathic practitioners are general practitioners of natural and complementary medicine and alternative therapies; some of the naturopaths in our organisation, Naturopaths of New Zealand, have specialised in the use of specific modalities, while others works with a broad spectrum of natural treatments. Professional development subsequent to graduating from naturopathic college augments the naturopath’s knowledge and skills, and is a requirement for continuing professional membership of Naturopaths of New Zealand.
Additional modalities may include: auricular acupuncture, autogenic training, biofeedback training, Chinese herbal medicine - acupuncture, moxibustion and cupping, cranio-sacral therapy, visceral manipulations, jin shin do, psychotherapy, ortho-bionomy, osteopathy, reflexology, tui na among others.
Naturopathy is both a system of natural medicine, and a way of life.
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” Thomas Edison (1902)