Principles of Naturopathic Medicine: Treat the Whole

Tolle Totum or Treat the whole/total person, is another of the principles that seems obvious to most people, and one would assume this is the common approach of most physicians. It is closely associated with the previous principle, “treat the cause”. In actuality, this principle has become contrary to the approach of most medical practitioners.

When someone has high blood pressure, a doctor will usually give the patient a prescription that lowers the blood pressure. What if, however, the person is also becoming increasingly dehydrated (diuretics are often used for high blood pressure)? This patient is extremely stressed from work and he also has digestive problems. Nothing is wrong with supporting healthy blood pressure, but if we treat each item individually, the person is now on multiple supplements or prescriptions (high blood pressure, rehydration, digestive support, and stress management) that may actually antagonize each other or create new issues.

A Vitalistic naturopath may address many of these conditions under a short series of treatments that cover all of them. When we address the whole person, his whole life improves, not just his blood pressure. Treatments that are chosen may not seem like they address a particular issue. Yet, when a treatment looks to treat the whole person, it takes the improvement of all of a body’s issues into account.

The Vitalistic physician might also prescribe a set of non-invasive measures: treatments to deal with the blood pressure and digestive problems; counseling or better life balance to deal with a stressful job; and changing water or mineral intake to deal with the dehydration and digestion.