“Naturopathy is a philosophy which encompasses a view of life, a model for living a full life. The word naturopathy is a Latin-Greek hybrid which can be defined as ‘being close to or benefiting from nature.”
— Stewart Mitchell, Naturopathy: Understanding the Healing Power of Nature
The practice of naturopathy is based on six key principles:
• Promote the healing power of nature.
• First do no harm. Naturopathic practitioners choose therapies with the intent to keep harmful side effects to a minimum and not suppress symptoms.
• Treat the whole person. Practitioners believe a person’s health is affected by many factors, such as physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, and social ones. Practitioners consider all these factors when choosing therapies and use a clinically designed program for each client.
• Remove the cause. Practitioners seek to identify and remove the causes of a condition, rather than its symptoms. They believe that symptoms are signs that the body is trying to fight illness, adapt to it, or recover from it.
• Prevention is the best cure. Practitioners teach ways of living that they consider most healthy and most likely to prevent illness.
• The physician is a teacher. Practitioners consider it important to educate their clients in taking responsibility for their own health.
A traditional, classical naturopath specializes in wellness, teaching clients how applying natural lifestyle approaches can act to facilitate the body’s own natural healing and health building potential. The traditional naturopath does not undertake to “diagnose” or “treat diseases,” but rather recognizes that the majority of sub-health conditions are cumulative lifestyle effects, and that the underlying cause of what we call “disease” (or, “dis-ease”) is improper diet, unhealthy habits, and environmental factors which cause biological imbalances leading to a weakening of the bodies’ natural defenses and subsequent breakdown in health. The practice of Traditional Naturopathy is not considered the practice of medicine.
All disease (dis-ease) is a “lack of ease” or lack of homeostasis in the body. What Allopathic (medical) doctors call diseases are only symptoms of a greater underlying problem. Disease is nothing more than a manifestation of our bodies trying to correct imbalances. These imbalances are due to faulty nutritional patterns, improper rest, stress management and other lifestyle considerations which over time can result in a weakening of the body. By the time disease appears on the scene it is very late in the game!
Our body tells us early on when there is a problem and we can either respond to these “messages” or try to suppress the symptoms the body uses to tell us there is a problem. You can take Tylenol, or other drugs, to suppress the symptoms and they will help for a while, but unless the underlying problem is corrected, eventually the symptoms will no longer be suppressed by these drugs and one will need to take stronger and stronger drugs to quiet the body’s message.
Naturopathy concentrates on identifying destructive aspects of the lifestyle in the early phases, when lifestyle changes can occur to bring long-term benefit. Before symptoms manifest and long before a diagnosis can be rendered, these destructive aspects of our lifestyle can be identified and corrected. Once corrected, the body automatically begins to correct itself. Diagnosing disease and illness is totally unnecessary to correcting the underlying problems which result in disease and illness.