The foundation of Naturopathic Medicine begins with the Six Principles. The first principle is “The Healing Power of Nature”. Naturopathic doctors recognize that there is an inherent self-healing process that is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic doctors act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this inherent self-healing process.
While time is necessary for self-healing to occur, impatience often happens. How often have you ripped open a scab before the skin below it has fully healed? Instead of taking a rest or nap, how often have you grabbed a cup of coffee or a sugary snack to boost your energy? Have you ever gone to work or to an event even though you felt unwell? Even though we strive to do what we can to move the healing process forward, succumbing to the more desirable fast and easy mentality of “I’ll deal with it later” can impede progress and may even become an obstacle to health and well-being.
Know the obstacles
Naturopathic doctors work on finding out the root cause of the disease and remove obstacles that interfere with the body’s recovery. Finding the obstacles may take time because they may not be as blatant as some.
The intake by a naturopathic doctor is extensive to rule out obstacles such as mold exposure, parasites, underlying bacterial and viral infections, or heavy metals. Usually, past exposures can be determined by the patient’s past history and knowledge of exposures, and other times, testing is required to uncover any obstacles that may be lurking. Mental and emotional blockages, most often from past traumas, are also obstacles that can sabotage the healing process.
Medications can often be an obstacle rather than a cure. A pharmaceutical agent may be able to symptomatically relieve discomfort temporarily. However, the immune system is mounting a response, whether it be a fever, pain or discharge to fight off bacteria, viruses, toxins, and other foreign invaders. Medications may impede the immune system’s progress.
Augment self-healing process
To support the self-healing process, a Naturopathic doctor looks to correct the foundations of health through lifestyle and diet. Lifestyle, including adequate healing sleep and activity, can fluctuate greatly given life circumstances such as work deadlines, the birth of a child, and illness. A balanced lifestyle is not easy to achieve with busy schedules and responsibilities. A Naturopathic doctor provides insights to maximize ways to maintain health during times of stress. Diet, including proper digestion and correcting any underlying nutritional deficiencies, is one of the foundational therapies provided by Naturopathic doctors.
In certain circumstances, one’s immune system may under or over-respond causing either the inability to ward off the offending agent or create a response to a greater degree resulting in unnecessary suffering and damage to the body. When the healing process is stunted, which often is the case in complex disease conditions, supporting the natural mechanisms of the body is essential to regain health. This support can be through botanical and nutritional supplementation.
More is not always better.
In our culture today, more is always better. However, when it comes to the body, more is not always better. Do you feel better or worse after eating an enormous meal? (Remember buffets?) If you drink too much water, it is possible to imbalance the electrolytes and ends up in the emergency room. Your body can only handle so much to regulate homeostasis.
The Healing Power of Nature is everywhere: feeling the warm sunshine on your skin, absorbing nutrients from fresh vegetables picked in the garden, or hiking in the woods. Sometimes, the best medicine is to slow down and let nature run its course.