What is Naturopathy?
I'm currently studying a Bachelor of Health Science in Naturopathy at Endeavour College of Natural Health. So what exactly is Naturopathy and how can it help you achieve your health goals?
The natural healing system known as Naturopathy, which can be traced back the 18th and 19th centuries, was introduced to the United States in 1902 by the German immigrant, Benjamin Lust but the roots of Naturopathy dates back thousands of years (ANTA, 2018)
Naturopathy is a holistic health care system which is quite distinct from allopathic medicine. Naturopathy respects the body’s innate ability to self-heal and maintain homeostasis. A person treated naturopathically is treated as a complete being as opposed to treating a disease (ANTA, 2018).
Naturopathy is an integrated system that may use herbs, nutrition, homeopathy, manual therapies and more to prevent disease as well as treat both acute and chronic conditions (ANPA, 2018).
Naturopathy practices are firmly based on the following six principles;
- The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae) refers to the vital force of the person to work with the healing power of nature to restore the body to health.
- First Do No Harm (Primum non nocere). The least force possible shall be used to support the body in healing. The Therapeutic Order provides the bases for which therapies should be used at which time.
- Treat the Cause (Tolle Causum). Treating the symptoms does nothing to treat the cause or heal the body (Lindlahr, 1924).
- Treat the Whole Person (Tolle Totem) refers to the naturopathic philosophy of holism. Naturopathic assessment is patient centred and considers the interdependent factors such as lifestyle, environment, genetic and external factors that influence their health outcomes. This is in contrast with reductionism, the basis of allopathic medicine, Traditional and scientific evidence is taken into consideration when deciding on a treatment plan.
- Docere, or “Doctor as Teacher”. Patient compliance is improved when the patient is educated on how their choices directly affect their health. Naturopathy requires patients to take responsibility for their health outcomes.
- Prevention (Praevenire). Healthy lifestyle choices serve to prevent imbalances and promote good health (ANPA, 2018)
Natural medicine has the benefit of thousands of years of wisdom from many different cultures. Traditional medicine such as Ayurveda (India), Taoist (China), Traditional African, Indigenous American and more all have the understanding that the body possesses the innate ability to seek homeostasis and self-heal, known as vitalism in Naturopathy. The recognition that you must treat all aspects of the body and the environment in which we exist to achieve health is the other common thread between traditional medicine and Naturopathy today. This is known as holism (Hausser et al., 2018) (Arentz, 2017).
Studies on the efficacy of Naturopathy focus on the clinical outcomes and deliverable health outcomes as opposed to medical and disease-focused outcomes. Naturopathy is a holistic system and cannot therefore fit into the reductionist model when it comes to clinical evidence (Arentz, 2017).
One such study by Breed & Bereznay (2017) found that patients receiving treatment for depression and anxiety by a naturopath in a community health clinic showed improved outcomes and decreased depression and anxiety scores. (Breed & Bereznay, 2017).
By drawing on the thousands of years of traditional knowledge in natural medicine, following the principles of Naturopathy and confirming the efficacy with clinical studies, we can make a difference in the lives of people who have yet to find what they need in the allopathic model of modern medicine.
To learn more about Naturopathy and a Bachelor of Health Science, check the Info Breakfast on campuses across Australia. Thursday, 8 November 2018 - 7.45AM - All campuses
ANTA Natural Therapy | Australian Naturopath Directory (2018) Retrieved from hhtp://ftp.australiannaturaltherapistsassociation.com.au
Arentz, S. (2017). Bursting the bubble of 'no evidence' by reframing the foundations of Naturopathy. Australian Journal of Herbal Medicine 2017 29(2), 29(2), 63-67. Retrieved from http://content.ebscohost.com/ContentServer.asp?EbscoContent=dGJyMNHX8kSeprQ4zdnyOLCmr1Cep7ZSsq64TbCWxWXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMPGqs1Czr7ZLuePfgeyx43zx1%2B6B&T=P&P=AN&S=R&D=rzh&K=123919871
Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association (2018). Retrieved from http://anpa.asn.au
Breed, C., & Bereznay, C. (2017). Treatment of Depression and Anxiety by Naturopathic Physicians: An Observational Study of Naturopathic Medicine Within an Integrated Multidisciplinary Community Health Center. The Journal Of Alternative And Complementary Medicine, 23(5), 348-354. doi: 10.1089/acm.2016.0232
Hausser, T., Lord, D., Yanez, D., Cottingham, P., Newman Turner, R., & Abascal, A. (2018). WNF White Paper: Naturopathic Philosophies, Principles and Theories. Retrieved from http://worldnaturopathicfederation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/White-Paper_FINAL.pdf
Lindlahr, H. (1924). Nature Cure (pp. 1-9). Miami: Hardpress.
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