Naturopathy radiates the wisdom of ancient cultures
Naturopathy is a holistic and eclectic healthcare practice, drawing on traditional knowledge and clinically researched scientific data from numerous disciplines.
These include Herbal Medicine, Conventional Medicine, European Complementary Medicine, Clinical Nutrition, Homeopathy and Psychology offering patients safe and effective treatments and set them on the path to wellness and optimal health.
Centuries of Wisdom
The roots of naturopathy go back thousands of years, relying on the healing wisdom of many cultures, including Indian (Ayurveda), Chinese (Taoist), Greek (Corpus Hippocraticum), Arabic, and European Egyptians (Monastic).
Greek philosopher Hippocrates valued the principles of Eastern medicine and believed in viewing a person as a whole, while looking for the underlying cause of a disease and using the laws of nature to stimulate healing.
In their 2014 paper ‘Health care practices in ancient Greece: The Hippocratic ideal,’ published in the Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Christos F. Kleisiaris, Chrisanthos Sfakianakis, and Ioanna V. Papathanasiou state, “Asclepius and Hippocrates focused medical practice on the natural approach and treatment of diseases, highlighting the importance of understanding the patient’s health, independence of mind, and the need for harmony between the individual, social and natural environment, as reflected in the Hippocratic Oath.”
Systems and Therapies
Modern Western naturopathy can be traced to 18th and 19th-century natural healing systems. Such systems include Hydrotherapy (Water Therapy), which was popular in Germany and Nature Cure, developed in Austria, that was based on the use of food, air, light, water, and herbs to treat illness.
In 1885, Dr John Scheel, a German Homeopath, practising in the Badekur Sanitarium in New York, coined the term ‘Naturopathy.’ In 1902, Germany-born American Benedict Lust borrowed the term ‘Naturopathy’ to describe his theory and philosophy of health and healing that was made up of doctrines of natural healing that he believed was to be the future of natural medicine.
The uniqueness of naturopathy arises from the application of seven fundamental principles.
Six of these principles were codified in 1986 by the World Naturopathic Federation, based on wisdom from the past and a review of current-day naturopathic concepts.
A seventh principle, ‘Wellness’ was included in the teachings of a number of naturopathic schools around the world.
Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere): This means that Naturopaths will select the most gentle and non-invasive treatment possible to restore the body to balance. They will use behaviour and lifestyle modifications such as changes to diet, exercise, massage, hydrotherapy and relaxation techniques such as meditation as well as non-toxic natural remedies such as herbs, flower essences and homoeopathic preparations which minimize the risk of harmful side effects. They will also try as much as possible to avoid the harmful suppression of symptoms
The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae): Naturopathic Medicine recognises the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. The Naturopath’s focus is on supporting and facilitating this healing.
Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam): Symptoms are an external manifestation of an internal imbalance due to any combination of physical, mental or emotional causes. Rather than eliminate or merely suppress symptoms, the naturopath aims to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness that may serve as obstacles to recovery.
Treat the Whole Person (Tolle Totum): In naturopathy, all aspects of the patient’s life, including physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social, are taken into consideration in the formulation of the treatment plan. This is because it is believed that people should be in harmony within themselves, with others, and with their environment to live a healthy life free of disease.
Doctor as Teacher (Docere): The Latin root of ‘Doctor’ is ‘Docere,’ meaning ‘To teach’.
The Naturopath pays special attention to educating and empowering patients to take responsibility for their own health by adopting a healthy attitude, lifestyle and diet.
This sets them off on the path to lifelong health and wellbeing.
To this end, patients are often given hand-outs or information sheets to accompany information gained during a consultation.
Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Naturopathy places great emphasis on disease prevention.
The Naturopath assesses various obstacles to health in the patient’s life as well as hereditary susceptibility to disease and suggests appropriate interventions to prevent illness.
This may include steps such as avoidance of toxins and changes to diet and lifestyle and nutritional supplementation.
It is far easier and cheaper to prevent a disease than to treat it.
Using the healing power of nature and gentle therapeutic techniques, the Naturopath aims to inculcate a sense of wellbeing on a physical, psychological and spiritual level, characterised by good health, positive emotion, thought and action.
Today, Naturopaths are trained to treat a wide range of health complaints, both acute and chronic. However, they will not demand that patients discontinue any allopathic treatment that they are currently receiving, or any prescribed medication that they are taking.
Natural Medicine in New Zealand
Instead, they will prescribe herbal remedies, supplements, diet and lifestyle modifications and other therapies that will work alongside the current therapies prescribed by their doctor, making sure that there will not be any harmful interactions.
Naturopaths will not hesitate to refer patients to a doctor or medical specialist or to another treatment modality when something is outside their scope of practice.
In New Zealand, most naturopaths are well trained, having graduated from the South Pacific College of Natural Medicine (my alma mater) or Wellpark College or the Naturopathic College of New Zealand with the degree of Bachelor of Natural Medicine or a diploma in naturopathy and provide an excellent standard of care.
Sandhya Govind is a qualified and trained Naturopath and runs the ‘Sandhya’s Naturopathy Clinic,’ an integrated Natural Medicine facility, which helps people rediscover optimal health, radiance and vitality naturally. She provides holistic support including Herbal Medicine, Supplements, Health Coaching, Diet Advice and Mineral Therapy. Ms Govind also creates Crossword and Word Search puzzles for Indian Newslink Digital Edition every fortnight. She can be contacted on 021-0709243. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org