Naturopathy is a philosophy that gained momentum between the 1800’s-1960’s. The concept is that there is ONE underlying common denominator to ill-health, and diseases (conditions) are just symptoms of this imbalance.
The root (underlying) cause of dysfunction is identified and treated; not the branches (symptoms). Imagine the branches of a tree if you will, these are all the different symptoms, the root of the tree signifies the cause of these imbalances.
A Naturopath treats the person, not the illness, believing that each person is unique and healing should be tailored to meet the needs of different genetic expressions, irrespective of the condition.
A Naturopath works with diet and nutrition and is an advocate of various forms of fasting, cleansing, exercise, sunshine and rest. There is a deep understanding of the way in which the body heals, allowing the Naturopath to better guide the patient.
Natural therapeutics may be advised which include biopuncture, cupping, structural alignment and emotional balancing.
Dr Constantine Hering (1800-1880) devised a set of guidelines which are still in use today. They have been proven time and time again and are not his rules, but Nature’s Laws.
The body becomes ‘poorly’ from the top of the body downward. For example, a headache will precede a sore throat which will precede a cough- the lung being the larger organ of detoxification. It also heals this way, so that eczema may present on the elbow creases, then move to the fingers before completely clearing up.
The body becomes ‘poorly’ from the inside, outwards. For example, the internal organs of the liver and colon become out of balance first, which leads to expression on the skin. To clear up acne, a Naturopath will work on gently cleansing the internal organs, as the skin is the outermost organ of the body.
The body always prioritises the most important organs over the least important. The heart and brain are extremely important organs and toxins will rarely be deposited here, instead the body will favour what it considers unimportant- the skin (displaying as skin rashes or acne) and the joints (displaying as arthritis or inflamed joints).
Healing takes place in reverse order to the onset of symptoms. For example old symptoms may re-appear before healing of the latest symptoms. I have seen this occur countless times in my patients, but the one that stands out for me was in my good friend. When we were 17 and travelling around Greece, she got bitten on the lip by an insect of some sort. For the next 3 weeks, it oozed green pus- not an attractive sight at that age! She applied all types of medicated creams but it still took the best part of a month to clear up. Fast forward to our 30’s and my friend started seeing a Homeopath regarding her eczema. When I next saw her I asked what had happened to her lip. It was oozing green pus and I was suddenly taken back many years to that time in Greece. Sure enough, her body had taken the opportunity to cleanse after the Homeopathy had stimulated her vital force to self-cleanse.
Which brings me onto another Naturopathic Principle:
There is a Vital Force that, given the right conditions, will self-heal or self-correct. The Vital Force is stimulated by factors which promote health and suppressed by excesses and deficiencies.
The body has a blueprint for perfect health and it really will heal given the right means. I have a fond memory of the reaction of a particular male client.:
“What?! You’re saying that I can reverse my knee?” He looked incredulous. “I’ve seen the x-rays. I haven’t got much of a knee left!”
“Yes, I am saying you can reverse your knee. Your body will heal given the right means” I encouraged.
“Well, that’s not what my Rheumatologist has said. It’s injections and Methotrexate for me”
“And do you believe that?” I continued, “May I ask what brought you in here today then?”
“I figured there must be another way”.
“Indeed there is, are you prepared to start your journey?”
The client is called Phil Escott and his book about this journey to healing himself has been a Number 1 best seller on Amazon: “Arthritis, the best thing that ever happened to me!” Read more
You’ll see my foreword at the front!
So, by the time the body has produced symptoms, the imbalances have been occurring for a long time. Prevention is preferable to cure, so the lifestyle changes that a Naturopath may guide you to make, should become a way of life.
One of the satisfying things I see in my Practice is the look on people’s faces when I talk about their health from a Naturopathic viewpoint, where we look at the timeline of events that has led to their current health status. “Your health today is shaped by your past”.
Let’s go back to Phil, his knee was better but still slightly troubling him. Now his kidneys were ‘kicking off’ as he phrased it. An allopathic approach would be to give antibiotics for the kidney infection symptoms. Here we talked about his emotions. He was feeling incredibly ‘pissed off’ at a situation but wasn’t aware to what extent this was bothering him, but the emotions were producing physical symptoms. Again, another Naturopathic Principle: The Whole person is treated – Physically, Mentally, Emotionally & Spiritually. Bringing an awareness to that emotion allowed him to start researching how to clear his emotions, and he came upon the work of Byrom Katie.
Other fundamental Naturopathic Principles:
The individual is unique, each person responds in a different way. I will often have a day where the same ‘disorder’ is being presented, say Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
For one person it may be due to a food intolerance, another it may have started after a bereavement, another may be due to the bacteria being out of balance.
All disease starts with a disruption to the body’s homeostatic mechanisms and Health is a return to balance of these mechanisms. This is where the body whispers are important- little signs that show the body is struggling to maintain homeostasis- markings on the nails, skin, lines, discolourations, spots, flecks, swellings, tightness, weakness, coatings, aromas and pH changes. A Naturopath will fully study the body, with an understanding that these little signs are expressions of internal disharmony.
ILL-Health is a product of the internal environment of the body rather than external influences. It is the soil that is the problem, not the microbes per se.
Claude Bernard was a 19th century French physiologist and first proposed that most disease is due to imbalances in the body’s interior milieu, also known as the biological terrain. He stated that disturbances in this cellular environment affected the integrity of the body’s cells. This, in turn, compromised the body’s ability to maintain health and resist disease.
The health of the terrain is determined by four factors: acid/ alkaline balance; electric/magnetic charge; its level of toxicity and its nutritional status (including oxygenation). In fact, Otto Warburg (1883-1970) a German Physiologist & Nobel Laureate stated, “If you deprive a cell of 35% of its required levels of oxygen for 48 hours; it is likely to become cancerous.”
The Biological terrain is compromised by poor lifestyle and dietary choices, such as: excessive stress, poor diet, too little sleep, certain drugs, alcohol, smoking, chemicals and toxins in the air/ food/ water/ environment.
Prolonged exposure to these factors can create deficiencies and excesses, which brings me onto another Naturopathic Principle: If a person is deficient, treatment would be used to “build them up”. If excess (toxicity), treatment would involve “breaking down” toxins (detoxification). For example someone with Adrenal exhaustion (deficiency state) would be worse for fasting. An excess state may involve symptoms such as recurrent infections, headaches and skin problems – medications such as painkillers, antihistamines, antibiotics, cortisone creams, only serve to aggravate the level of toxicity and acidity, without addressing the biological terrain.
In Naturopathy, ailments should not be suppressed. Symptoms are there for a reason and are manifestations of Nature’s Healing Force. A Naturopath will encourage the body to promote its innate healing abilities. It is quite foreign to someone when I ask them to cleanse the bowel when they are already suffering from diarrhoea, or I encourage saunas in those with certain skin conditions, “You want to increase my suffering?!” they ask.
“No, I want to aid your body in what it is already trying to do, whilst supporting some of the other internal organs”.
A Naturopath is an educator/ teacher, empowering the patient to take responsibility for his/her own health. During the Consultation I take great pride in helping people to gain an understanding of their health. As time is limited during the appointment, I decided to place more emphasis in teaching people how to make lasting changes to their health.
Why not come and join us for one of our education days where you can learn amongst like-minded people how to ferment foods, make herbal tinctures, create natural household cleaning products, how to safely detox and more! KEEP AN EYE ON OUR EVENTS PAGE for more information.