Naturopathic Medicine: Paradigm Shifting Back to Nature
I found this image today during a search. Not even sure who to attribute it to, but it perfectly states what has always been my understanding of Naturopathic Medicine. This beautiful form of medicine that follows ancient practices while utilizing current high quality diagnostic skills and tools, has been a game changer for the health of many people around the world.
When noting the paradigm shift it takes to recognize this form of medicine as the ideal way to prevent illness as well as treat the majority of illness, it takes releasing 100 years (vs. millennia of recognition of the ancient healing practices) of petroleum based medicine, and most recently biotech based medicine.
This allopathic form of medicine, has proven very well in extremely emergent cases. The practitioners who are able to palliate and prevent death or major bodily harm due to extreme circumstances, are doing amazing work that was not possible just 100 years ago. However, in minor emergencies and the majority of chronic (and often acute) illness, if allopathic treatment is used it should always be in adjunct to Naturopathic tools and treatment. Allopathic medicine suppresses symptoms, palliates, and might be useful in calming a reaction that is beneficial in certain cases with certain patients, but it does not get to the root of the problem. "Paradigm shifts arise when the dominant paradigm under which normal science operates is rendered incompatible with new phenomena, facilitating the adoption of a new theory or paradigm." Kuhn, Thomas (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. pp. 54. Approximately 100 years ago, a massive sweep was made in the country of the United States, to strip doctors of their medical license if they were not practicing allopathic medicine. The majority of doctors were actually practicing homeopathy along with other natural forms of medicine, as well as a minimal amount of stronger intervention with tinctures of poppy or coca as needed. Some were also using even stronger medicines that were not helpful, like mercury or arsenic. The homeopathic and natural medicine that most of these doctors were using worked best when the population was living in right conditions that were conducive to a healthy body. That means, a basic healthy diet without excessive sugar or processed food, exercise or working outside on the farm for example, enjoying time with friends and family, some form of a spiritual life, and optimal sleep habits. Cities were not always conducive to this kind of life and bred many disease conditions due to sanitation issues. While our sanitation has improved over the last century, our diet and lifestyle, along with workaholic tendencies, stress, and other lifestyle factors not conducive to a healthy body, has taken the place as a detrimental factor to a naturally healthy body. With all of that said, Naturopathic medicine is still the optimal form of medicine to assist one back to the optimal healthy body, mind, and spirit. The tools of Naturopathic Medicine are ancient and often, seemingly simple. However, it takes the skill of the practitioner to follow the history and patterns of what a patient is describing in order to get to the root of the problem and use the right form of medicine to assist the patient's innate abilities to heal. We take more time than many other practitioners to really listen and determine what is needed to balance the body, mind and spirit of the person in front of us.
My point in writing all of this today is that when thinking that we are in need of a paradigm shift, it is more that we need to remember where we were. The amazing tools that are available to assist our natural healing capabilities are alive and well, and have been for millennia. Homeopathic, Botanical, Ayurvedic, Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as German Biological Medicine, are all components of Naturopathic practice. Not all Naturopathic Physicians use all of these, however, many choose at least a couple to complete their tool box when assisting the patient's innate healing capacity.
As Kuhn wrote, the dominant paradigm under which medicine has been practiced has been rendered incompatible with what the human body needs to become truly healthy. It is time to go back to our natural way of living. A paradigm shift of remembering who we are, where we come from, the strength of our ancestors, and ultimately, the power of the healing forces within these amazing bodies.