Updated: Mar 12
The basics of Naturopathic Philosophy
As a "Naturopathic Homeopath", my "first love" in holistic healing modalities is, without a doubt, Naturopathy. One can search the internet and find various definitions and explanations for Naturopathy, but a very basic dictionary definition states that naturopathy is "a system of therapy that avoids drugs and surgery and relies on natural remedies, such as diet, exercise, sunshine, and massage to treat and prevent illness; a system which aims to treat the underlying cause of illness by encouraging the body to cure itself."
There is much that can be written about the history and current practice of Naturopathy, but for the sake of brevity since this is a blog post and not an academic article, I am focusing on the philosophy in this post, with the intention of doing a lifestyle post in the next one.
Naturopathy is based on several principles, which this blog post will briefly explore.
Principle #1: Premum no nocere (First do no harm):
At the heart of Naturopathic philosophy is the mentality of gentle healing and safety for the patient. Not all natural things are "safe". Naturopaths should strive to gently move the body to a state of deeper health. Any detoxification or other protocols used that could potentially provoke a temporary worsening of symptoms should be recommended with full informed disclosure, as well as with the intent to be as gentle as possible in all recommendations.
Principle #2: Tolle Causam (treat the cause)
Since Naturopathy is holistic in nature, naturopaths always look for the deep-rooted cause of ill health in any case that is presented to us. In both Naturopathy as well as homeopathy, my training viewed symptoms, not as the enemy that conventional medicine portrays, but as "signposts" to what is truly going on at the root level of the individual.
"Naturopathy is the mother, all-inclusive, of natural therapy. It is the basic platform for all healing; without it, any healing art will be a failure...it is the science of nature, the biological way of living right, the natural way to cure". Dr. Benjamin Lust, 1925 (the "father" of Naturopathy, and said to be the originator of "health food stores")
Principle #3: Tolle Totum (treat the entire person)
The very name of my health practice, "Holistic Harmony" encompasses this principle. We treat the totality of the individual...Body, Mind, and Spirit. As in homeopathy, we look at any potential "obstacles to cure" within the patient's living circumstances (workplace hazards, emotional or physical or psychological abuse, etc), in addition to lifestyle choices and other factors that make up the entirety of the individual.
Principles #4 and #5: Vis Medicatrix Naturae and Praevenire: (the healing power of nature and of prevention)
The principle of the healing power of nature expresses the tenet that the body has the capacity for self-healing, given the correct circumstances such as being free of toxins and given correct nutrition, rest, mental and emotional support, as well as being given access to the best supplements and herbs and so forth to assist the body in healing. As naturopaths we stress the importance of clean air and purified water, as well as rest (nightly, weekly, annually), avoidance of toxins, etc. This principle goes hand-in-hand with the principle of prevention. More on this topic in my next blog post.
Principle #6: Docere (Doctor as teacher)
The word doctor has its origin in the latin word "docere" , meaning "to teach". As a naturopath, it is important to empower my patients and help them to understand various aspects of how the body works as it relates to their issues and the recommendations that I make for them. This principle can be a bit tricky to practice in this era of internet access and a somewhat prevailing narcissistic mentality in American culture. I have had some very odd experiences as it relates to patient interaction regarding following instructions, etc. But the goal is to have a positive intention for healing and health and a good and positive working relationship with each client.
Applications of Naturopathic Philosophy:
I intend to do a "Naturopathy 102" blog post soon to give information about naturopathic assessment techniques that I learned in naturopathy school as well as to include lifestyle tips and recommendations. Hopefully this brief overview of naturopathic philosophy helped to explain some of the vision of Holistic Harmony Natural Health Counseling, LLC.
Copyright: Holistic Harmony Natural Health Counseling, LLC, Teresa Glick, ND, CHom