10 Underlying Beliefs of Naturopathy
Naturopathy is a form of healing. It is practiced by people who have studied its principles in much the same way that traditional doctors study formal medicine. It is something that patients can explore on their own but which is certainly aided by the help of a practitioner trained in the art. Naturopathy may be used to cure specific ailments but is also intended to promote overall health and to optimize wellbeing.
So what exactly is naturopathy? Well, here are ten underlying beliefs of naturopathy which can help you to understand what this medical practice is all about:
1. The body knows what the body needs. A major belief in naturopathy is that your body is its own best healer. The body knows what it needs to get well. The body is capable of maintaining its health and even of healing itself when you are taking proper care of your body. When you neglect your body’s needs, the body gets out of whack but proper care of the body will reverse these effects.
2. Surgery is rarely necessary. People who practice naturopathy are not crazy or primitive. They know that there are times, conditions and situations which require medication, surgery and other procedures that come from Western medicine. However, they also believe that we rely far too much on these methods of healing. They believe that there are many other things that we can do naturally to encourage health before we resort to these more extreme methods of care.
3. A holistic approach is important. As with many forms of alternative healing, practitioners of naturopathy believe in taking a holistic approach to healing. It is important to not only address a specific ailment but to find all of its underlying causes. It is important to look at diet, mental state, etc. instead of just trying to solve the physical ailments of the body. This holistic approach is increasingly popular among all patients and is one of the main reasons that many people are taking an interest in naturopathy today.
4. There are four major body systems which main be balanced for optimal health. People who practice naturopathy believe that the holistic approach must take special care in dealing with all four of our major body systems. Those four systems are the immune system, the elimination (or detoxification) system, the nervous system and the hormonal system. It is believed that all ailments are caused by one or more of these systems being out of balance. A primary goal of naturopathic treatment is to get these body systems back in balance with one another.
5. Every patient is an individual. Although there are general methods that naturopathic doctors might use for treating specific conditions, they consider it very important to look at the individual rather than the condition. They believe that the proper treatment is determined by the very unique set of circumstances and chemistry that a specific patient presents with. This is a very individualistic form of healing.
6. Prevention is the key. Naturopathic doctors are capable of healing a variety of different ailments. However, their real goal is to prevent illness altogether. These are practitioners who believe that optimum health can be achieved at all times by keeping balance in the body. Rather than working on disease management, they focus on promoting health at all times in order to prevent disease.
7. Medicines are generally herbal or homeopathic. Naturopathic doctors try to keep their treatments as closely aligned with the natural world as possible. When these doctors do prescribe medications for their patients, it is often the case that these medications come directly from nature rather than from a chemical lab. Herbal medications or homeopathic cures (which can include cures derived from plant, animal or mineral substances) are common forms of medical treatment among naturopathic practitioners.
8. Naturopathy should include many forms of natural healing. People sometimes ask what the difference is between homeopathy and naturopathy. The answer is that homeopathy is a niche form of healing which focuses on this nature-based cures. It is just one of many things that are included in the bigger picture of naturopathy. The point here is that naturopathy includes many different forms of natural healing from energy work to massage therapy to the modalities of Traditional Chinese Medicine to dietary healing. This is a very comprehensive form of health care treatment.
9. This is a science. At its core, naturopathy is a science. Doctors who are trained to practice naturopathy don’t just get a certificate from a local vocational school. They attend elite educational programs and get at least one year of pre-med studies so that they really understand the science of the human body. They may take a holistic or “alternative” approach to medicine but they take their work as doctors very seriously. Expect to be given full physical examinations and treated as a patient when you see this type of health care provider. (Such treatment would not necessarily be the case with other alternative healers such as Reiki practitioners or massage therapists that are doing just one aspect of healing.) As such, the first principle of Naturopathy is the same as that of modern doctors – First, Do No Harm.
10. The patient is responsible for his or her own health. The naturopathic doctor is there to help you find a cure for your ailment. However, he or she believes that the patient is ultimately the one responsible for the patient’s health. The doctor’s role is to provide education and advice while assisting the patient in understand his or her own body and intuition.