Naturopathy and Natural Hygiene
Naturopathy is the use of natural healing techniques, centred around an understanding of the whole person, who they are and how they respond to their environment. Rather than basing treatments on the disease or symptoms a person has, the question is first asked, "Who is this person who has these symptoms?"
A wholistic approach is used to identify causes of symptoms and remove those causes, rather than treating symptoms alone. Symptomatic relief is of course important (frequently being a patient's primary concern) and many naturopathic techniques are highly effective for this purpose, but as naturopathy also aims to strengthen and balance the body's natural restorative capacities, the relief of symptoms is often dramatic and accompanied by the pleasant side effect of increased resistance to future illness.
In New Zealand, training for a Naturopathic Diploma consists of around 2,400 hours over 3 years, so you know that a qualified naturopath has the counselling skills and knowledge required to treat you safely and effectively.
Naturopaths are commonly well-trained in an understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology and diagnosis, the same skills learned by doctors.
Naturopathic diagnosis is generally via multiple approaches, beginning with collecting a detailed health history coupled with physical observation of stature, posture and gait, as well as non-invasive physical examination. In addition, many naturopaths utilise additional specialist skills such as iridology, live blood cell analysis, hair mineral analysis, urine testing and other laboratory methods to support their diagnosis.
People often want to categorise a healing modality according to "what it works for" and thereby draw comparisons. Most people either have no idea what a naturopath is or think of naturopaths as people to treat minor conditions, for those who may require the odd vitamin or some relaxing massage. Medical doctors are more often thought of as the ones to deal with major illnesses and indeed there is an expectation that radical intervention such as prescription drugs or surgery, etc is required for such conditions.
Sadly, it may be the case that few people today include prescription drugs under the heading of radical intervention, but as drugs become more concentrated and synthetic, radical intervention is what they are, regardless of how desensitised our thinking may have become about them.
While naturopaths (and practically any practitioners other than medical doctors) are not permitted by law to make healing or cure claims, there are few people with health problems who cannot benefit in some way from naturopathic techniques. Often the benefit is one of comfort but there is a surprising number of conditions that are otherwise practically untreatable and that respond very well to nutritional, herbal and even massage approaches, to mention only a few.
Using massage as an example, while the causes and symptoms of disease are many and various, it is reasonable to consider that a technique that improves blood circulation and drainage of stagnant fluids would be almost universally beneficial.
A major benefit of naturopathic principles is as a preventative against major illness by keeping key organ systems properly nourished and internally clean for optimised function.
If there is one mistake almost any practitioner can cite it's a person waiting too long before deciding to get professional advice; the longer it's left, the more remedial work is usually required. Don't wait until it's too late. Book a consultation now.
Follow the links below to read more about some of the common therapeutic techniques used by naturopaths, which may be used separately or in combination, as required.
- Ayurvedic Principles
- Bach Flower Remedies
- Biochemical Cell Salts (Schuessler)
- Celloid Minerals
- Herbs (NZ, European, American)
- Homeobotanical Therapy
- Lifestyle Adjustments
- Nutrition - Diet and/or Supplements
- Reflexology and Acupressure
Looking for something natural but more "radical"? Natural Hygiene is similar to naturopathy, but, without taking away from naturopathy, it may be fair to say that Natural Hygienists have made less compromises in their outlook on health than naturopaths. The average modern day naturopath has somewhat succumbed to the twin pressures of the need for "scientific acceptability" and the lure of the intellectual elegance of the medical model of health and disease.
On the one hand there is the indoctrinated position that any practitioner who does not advocate the pharmaceutical model of therapy must surely be a "quack". On the other is the earnest, if not misplaced, desire to prove the validity of one's own beliefs, which is problematic once you've accepted a few false ones. It's worth considering that the existence of even the most elegant doctrine is no assurance of its validity.
Many naturopaths have therefore become "green doctors" prescribing "green drugs", that is to say, they have bought into the medical model of disease management and the germ theory, the idea that we are on a war field, being victimised by unseen bacteria and viruses. The green drugs, being the various herbal, nutritional, or other "natural" remedies, are indeed far safer than pharmaceutical drugs in terms of their side effects, but the philosophy for their prescription remains remarkably similar to medical doctors. In some cases, some of the so-called natural products can actually be synthetic "look-alikes", looking similar in the laboratory but functionally different in the body and thus drug-like in their action, albeit significantly safer than pharmaceuticals because of their lesser potency and action.
Only where true causes are sought out and addressed directly, working with the person and their nature, recognising deviations from natural and harmonious ways of living, and educating the person into constructive and moral ways of living and conduct, can a truly hygienic cure become possible.
In the words of Dr MT Trall, a Hygiene Therapist in the mid-late 1800's, "We (Natural Hygienists) are not reformers; we are revolutionists... Reforming the drug system by substituting one set of drugs for another is a ridiculous farce. It may, to be sure, substitute a lesser for a greater evil, in many cases, but is like reforming big lies with little falsehoods. It is like reforming swearing with obscene language; or like reforming robbing with cheating."
These great words said, I prefer to think of Natural Hygiene as a kind of "fundamentalist" naturopathy, rather than naturopathy as a perverted Natural Hygiene. However it strikes you, perhaps the key message is not to let any "treatment method" replace the importance of understanding natural laws and harmonising with them. Too frequently we attempt to bend the laws to suit our preferences, which is simply not a sustainable position.
Read more here about each of the main naturopathic techniques.
Or, you may want to look at some of the natural health books I recommend.