It may sound simple, but we seldom follow the logic of this principle. If you have a headache and you take an Advil, was it because you were Advil deficient? Probably not. The headache went away, but only because you stopped the inflammatory cascade that was trying to alert you that something was wrong. There are of course dozens of reason why you may have had a headache, but the lack of Advil was not it.
There are several ways we can discuss the Principles of Naturopathic Medicine, as well as a few ways that they can be applied in practice.
There are six principles and over the next several posts, we’ll do a short introduction to each one. There is no specific order or hierarchy, but we’ll start with Prevention, because prevention is always a good place to start.
Preventare or Prevention is exactly what it means. What can we do and how can we prevent illness, especially chronic illness, from occurring? I might stretch it a little bit and say, sometimes illness is not preventable, but we can prepare the body in the best ways possible in order to deal with the illness and return to health as quickly as possible.
Have you ever noticed that you don’t feel good after eating certain foods? So what is going on in the body and what is causing the uncomfortable reaction? Surprisingly, there are several possibilities, and the ways we think or speak about them often become confusing, contradicting and sometimes just wrong.
The four main reactions are: Intolerance, Allergy, Sensitivity and Lectin Response. When you feel unwell after eating, one of these four things is going on. Sometimes we lay the blame on the wrong category.
People talk and think a lot about food, and rightly so. It is required for life, it gives us energy for our daily tasks, and our body spends most of its energy each day digesting food. Our digestive system uses around 60% of our daily energy. Now there are all kinds of new questions to consider about what we are eating. We might wonder if it is GMO? Is it a local product… what does local even mean when some people travel 1-2 hours one way to get to their jobs. What about Organic and does it really matter? Then there is Paleo, Ketogenic, or Vegan and everything in between “diets”. Dozens of people per week are told they have become “gluten intolerant.” We have lots of ideas and feelings about food, but do really know that much about our food today?
“Article V, Section 5. The use of sedatives, analgesics, anaesthetics, narcotics or barbiturates to relieve pain, (except temporarily or in an emergency) at the expense of future health, or because of failure to eradicate the underlying causes of disorder of which pain is only a symptom, shall be considered contrary to the accepted theory and practice of naturopathy. The continued use of such substance is poisonous to the body, habit-forming, or makes the patient dependent upon them.”
Standard Naturopathy, Paul Wendel. 1951. p109-110
Stay with me on this one…. Look closely at the picture above. Do you see lots of trees or do you see a forest? Is there a difference between the two things for you? If you were to remove one or even two of the trees, do you really influence the forest? What if you changed the soil: the light, the air and/or the nutrients? Would that have a greater influence? What if instead of a picture of trees, it was a list of “disease conditions” that someone has. Would that change your answers to the above questions?
What does hydrotherapy do?
An increase in circulation is the primary and initial response of the body to hydrotherapy.
Why is an increase in circulation in specific areas so broadly beneficial?
By moving more amounts of blood and lymphatic fluid, you increase the amount of (and speed) metabolic waste removed from the tissue area, and increasing the amount of nutrients and oxygen reaching the area. Since it is in a system, effecting one area will have an effect on the whole system.
Why cold water?
Father Sebastian Kneipp was a Catholic priest who lived from 1821-1897 in Bavaria, Germany. Although not the first, nor the last person to add greatly to hydrotherapy, he is credited with being one of the Fathers of Hydrotherapy as well as a father of Nature Cure/Naturopathic Medicine in the United States. He was extremely well known and loved in Germany and adjacent countries. Even the Archduke of Austria visited Father Kneipp to be treated. Several of the “fathers” of naturopathic medicine also visited Father Kneipp in order to be healed or trained and then brought their understanding back to the United States.
Father Kneipp developed what he called the Five Pillars. All of his patients were not only taught these pillars of health, but were expected to follow them. Even the Archduke was told he needed to follow Father Kneipp directions or he would not be treated.
Below are several sections from the “Narcotic Education” article from the August 1937, Naturopath and Herald of Health Journal. The journal went through many name changes in its 35+ year history. But throughout its time of publication, the journal, its editor and the contributors held very firmly to what they believe to be Naturopathic Medicine. They gave definition, clarity and direction to the art of Naturopathic Medicine.