Sharing the Wisdom of the Earth

Naturopathic medicine relies on the vast collection of wisdom innate in the Earth.

When you begin working with naturopathic medicine you will be using the oldest, most clinically researched medicine available—natural therapeutics that have been applied effectively for tens of thousands of years—combined with the best of contemporary research and technology.

Naturopathic medicine is a system of classical medicine defined by its philosophy. The term classical more fully captures the essence of naturopathic medicine than do the terms alternative or complimentary. The roots of naturopathic medicine reach back to a time when physicians studied the process of health as well as the process of disease. Those roots extend even deeper into the soil of time, to an era when humans understood the healing power in their own bodies, as well as in the plants and elements that surrounded them. This innate healing power, or natural intelligence, directs the body to regenerate and rebalance. 

Many techniques or healing modalities fit under the umbrella of naturopathic medicine. The philosophy of naturopathic medicine provides the link that unifies this group of diverse practices. A core aspect of this philosophy, outlined more fully below, is that treatment must be individualized to meet the needs of a particular patient. Naturopathic medicine treats diseases by treating people. Ten people with similar cold or flu symptoms may walk into my office, and those ten patients will walk out with ten different treatment plans, each tailored to suit a particular set of needs. 

This diversity in treatment methods makes naturopathic medicine difficult for some people to understand. Legislative bodies understand other healing modalities like acupuncture for example, more readily because the method of healing is consistent from patient to patient. Acupuncturists use needles. Chiropractors administer “force” or “nonforce” methods of adjustment. Medical doctors provide pharmaceutical drugs or surgery.

A naturopathic doctor, however, has a vast array of potential treatments from which to choose. Naturopathic medical students study all of the medical sciences (clinical and physical diagnosis, pathology, anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, etc.) just like all of the courses taught at any medical school. In addition, we spend several hundred hours studying courses that have disappeared from most medical school curricula, including counseling, nutrition, exercise therapeutics, homeopathy, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, physical therapies, and more.  

Like any physician, a naturopathic doctor takes medical histories, performs physical exams, orders lab tests, and makes diagnoses. A naturopathic doctor differs from other doctors in how she treats the diagnosed illness, in what she does with the information gathered. A treatment plan may include nutritional counseling, a homeopathic prescription, and a discussion of how a specific exercise program will benefit the patient’s health. The discussion may cover job or family pressures and how they are impacting a patient’s life. Occasionally, a condition requires minor surgery, like the closing of a laceration for example. Finally, in certain situations a naturopathic doctor may choose to prescribe pharmaceutical drugs. 

Conventional medicine excels in its treatment of catastrophic conditions, for example bodily injury after a car accident. When the “big guns” are required, conventional medicine responds with reassuring aggression and swiftness. When a body requires ongoing treatment for a chronic illness, conventional medicine has little to offer.

Even “simple” acute conditions have few treatments in the conventional medical system. A college friend, recently graduated from conventional medical school commented on his helplessness in treating common colds. “I mean, I don’t even know what to do for myself,” he confided. “What can I tell my patients?” I was as surprised by his lack of knowledge as I was by his honesty. I can think of at least a dozen treatments to resolve a cold, and several therapies to abort a cold in its early stages. 

In modernizing the wisdom of classical medicine, the conventional medical system has lost invaluable resources. Gone is the knowledge of supporting the body and working with the healing power innate in the human body. Largely gone is a true understanding of investing in health as a means of prevention. Unfortunately, the big guns of conventional medicine have provided people with a false sense of security. Many people assume that they can continue to eat lifeless food, avoid exercise, smoke, drink in excess, and then be “saved” from illness later in life by the wonder of modern medicine. Half a century after the introduction of the pharmaceutical wonder drugs, we are learning that drug miracles are temporary, not permanent. Bacteria and viruses mutate and become resistant to antibiotics. Chemotherapy and antihypertensive medications have serious and sometimes irreversible side effects. Such “miracles” exact as many payments as they offer rewards, and the borrowing margin is the health and vitality of our bodies. 

Naturopathic medicine relies on the body’s innate strength for its miracles. Its wonder drugs are reliable plant and elemental sources that have been used effectively since the dawn of the healing arts. It is truly a beautiful medicine, and it is a delight to share this wisdom with my patients. If you are interested in working with a naturopathic doctor to achieve your health goals, I invite you to contact me for a FREE 15 minute consultation where we can review your health goals and what kinds of treatments may be effective.