Naturopathic Medicine (NM) is more than the sum of its parts. Naturopathic doctors state that they have six principles plus a new seventh that articulate the philosophy by which they practice:
- The Healing Power of Nature
Trust in the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself.
- Identify and Treat the Causes
Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause.
- First Do No Harm
Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.
- Doctor as Teacher
Educate patients in the steps to achieving and maintaining health.
- Treat the Whole Person
View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions.
Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.
- Wellness Help to guide people in making choices that promote wellness.
Yet there is much more that makes Naturopathic Medicine distinct.
What is it that NM does that is so different? Naturopathic Doctors do not presume that they fix or heal as practitioners. They help people create the best circumstance for their bodies to use the healing power of nature – the ‘vis’.
Just as a farmer plants seed in the ground, there is much more than tilling and nurturing the soil, planting the seeds, watering the land that occurs within nature itself that causes the innate spark within the seed to grow. Similarly, there is within each cell of every living organism an innate ability to replicate itself, heal when injured and return to homeostasis, a balance of health, by following the dynamic template of function innately held within it, unless irreparably interfered with.
Knowing how to participate with this spark of nature is what sets Naturopathic Medicine apart and yet at times it is the most difficult thing for the opponents of NM to grasp. Advanced physicists in the forefront of their field will tell you that everything is energy and that even disorder can be an act of seeking further order. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, a modality used in NM, there is a theoretical principle of the necessity of both a destructive and creative cycle to explain that resolution through destruction allows for reconstruction of function.
In a world that tries to control the increasing chaos through suppression of symptoms of discord instead of looking at what these symptoms are voicing, the human species repeats itself by not listening and not reflecting on where it has been and where it is going at an ever-increasing rate of disaster. This is happening in health/disease and care/management, to weather changes to massive and spontaneous shifts of populations in order survive. Civilization is in the throes of the destructive cycle in order to create a new normal or homeostasis. How long this will take is difficult to know but naturopathic medical care has much to offer to bring clarity to help lift the health of people and the planet out of the calamitous discord that is prevalent everywhere on the Earth today.
Naturopathic medicine has a legacy of the understanding of normalcy in health and methods of care that are practical, available, applicable and affordable that can be administered to restore, maintain and optimize normal health status on an individualized basis. The elders within the NM can mentor the profession by sharing their experiential knowledge and wisdom. Ask them to share this knowledge and wisdom so that it is not lost.
—Verna Hunt, BSc DC ND