Your body has the most incredible, innate healing power that is active and responsive in your everyday life. It is far more powerful beyond what you have been led to believe in society. There are immutable laws that are in place that govern health and disease. As long as these laws are followed and assisted in unison, then optimal health prevails. If these laws are violated, then sickness and disease results. This view comes from hundreds, if not thousands of years, of observations and experiences of earlier pioneers of natural medicine. It is the job as a naturopathic physician to educate and assist your body in following these laws in order for you to function optimally and thrive.
This philosophy we have is unique and, the vast majority of the time (sadly), quite different from a typical medical approach. Healthcare practitioners nowadays, many of whom have good hearts and good intentions, believe deep down that they are doing the best they can to treat patients, but they miss the mark when it comes to their views about health and disease treatment. They hold a medical view that disease and sickness must be counteracted by force, with surgery, pharmaceuticals, or even natural therapies.
The goal of allopathic medicine is to combat the symptoms of disease with their treatments (surgery, drugs, radiation) like their name implies, “allos” (Greek) meaning “other/different” and “pathos” meaning “suffering.” There is no treatment for the disease, only covering up the symptoms, much like putting black tape over the “check engine” light in your car, where the problem is still raging despite any signs! In this way, modern medicine is standardized with little regard for individualized options for the patient and no treatments that truly help heal a patient.
Every patient is unique and responds to and expresses illness differently than the next person. For example, two people may suffer from headaches or migraines, but the reasons may be very different. One patient may experience headaches due to dehydration or a nutritional deficiency while the other patient’s headache results from a traumatic past emotional event. Furthermore, two patients may experience the same traumatic event yet one develops anxiety and depression while the other develops eczema and gastrointestinal issues. It is critical to address the underlying root cause, a fundamental principle of naturopathic medicine. We must keep asking “Why?”
Naturopathic medicine can be distilled down to six guiding principles:
1) First, Do No Harm
2) The Healing Power of Nature
3) Treat the Cause
4) Treat the Whole Person
5) Doctor as Teacher
It is these principles that should be at the forefront of every treatment.
Naturopathic doctors utilize many therapies including botanical/herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, hydrotherapy, lifestyle and behavioral counseling, IV therapy, and minor surgery to name a few to accomplish this goal. It is more the way that treatments and therapies are applied that matters most, not just that they are “natural” or come from a “natural source”. Anything applied in an allopathic manner to counter the symptoms and does not work in conjunction with the healing laws are detrimental and will either delay healing or drive disease deeper, making it chronic – eventually leading to death.
Every sign and symptom that we, as humans, experience is our body’s “language” for communicating to us our health issues AND, at times, is the way the body is trying to heal itself. Our bodies are amazingly complex, yet simple works of art. Symptoms in one part or parts of the body or organ oftentimes means that another area/part or parts of the body is not or are not functioning normally or optimally. Our job as physicians is to assist and stimulate the body’s innate healing powers through the use of the various aforementioned therapies. This can only happen when we have gathered information from the patient across multiple levels of the person (or as we call in naturopathy…constitution) including: mental, emotional, and physical symptom planes.
Most, if not all, disease and illness carry a mental/emotional component with it and it often starts as a disturbance on the mental/emotional bioenergetic level before it manifests as physical signs and/or symptoms.
At Options, we assist and facilitate patients in their healing process, across multiple levels and we support them using therapies that will ultimately lead them to their optimal health, healing, and vitality by abiding by the Laws of Nature.
More on Naturopathic Medicine
Historically, naturopathic principles have been in use for centuries. Hippocrates, the famous physician of the fifth century who originally defined the concept of temperament, also authored the idea that there is a vital force inherent in all living beings. This vital force, which naturopathic doctors call the ‘Vis’ (short for Vis Medicatrix Naturae) is that capacity within each living being that promotes self-healing. The word ‘physician’ itself was taken from the Greek root physis, meaning ‘nature’.
Naturopathic Training is a comprehensive, four-year medical program, which requires a prerequisite bachelor’s degree upon entry. The first two years cover the basic sciences, including Biochemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Clinical and Physical Diagnosis and Laboratory Diagnosis. The following two years cover the clinical sciences, while incorporating several approaches to natural medicine such as Botanical Medicine, Clinical Nutrition, and Homeopathy. Courses combine the knowledge of Western science with the art of natural healing. See more at www.aanmc.org, the official website of all seven accredited naturopathic medical colleges in North America. To get an idea of the core curriculum Dr. Erin completed at the National College of Natural Medicine.
In Europe, naturopathic medicine has been very popular and continues to be highly accepted and recognized. Natural medicine, in the form of homeopathy and other techniques, is also highly regarded in Canada, India, South America, New Zealand and many other countries around the world. Today, various forms of natural medicine are growing in acceptance and recognition in the United States.