Unit 5: Naturopathy
You now have a firm foundation upon which to build your knowledge of naturopathy. You will not need to question why a person has a certain ailment because you will be able to reason it through with your understanding and knowledge of Eastern medicine and the humours/Doshas and five elements. Having studied the main Eastern medical approaches you will easily grasp the concepts and philosophy that underpin Naturopathy.
The term Naturopathy encompasses many disciplines. As we work through this module, studying its history and philosophy, you will recognise the strong influence of Eastern medicine in which it has its roots. Naturopathy dates back approximately 150 years although some of its practices have been used for centuries. It draws upon the rich heritage of writings and practices of Western and non-Western natural doctors since the time of Hippocrates. Modern naturopathy grew out of the healing traditions of the 18th and 19th centuries and now also incorporates scientific advances in modern medicine, whilst remaining true to its vitalistic approach. The art of modern naturopathy is to be able to blend advances in modern medicine with the ancient traditions. Science is beginning to prove what the ancient Eastern medical traditions have been teaching for centuries. This course, together with the advanced nutritional therapy course, aims to bring the science of Western medicine and the ancient Eastern knowledge together in the hope that practitioners can truly understand how to help their patients.
Naturopathy has therefore become an amalgamation of different disciplines all of which aim to treat the body naturally and respect and acknowledge the vital energy in the body. Although the therapies differ, the underlying message of promoting health and supporting the body’s own healing processes runs through them all. They are: healthy living, natural diet, detoxification, exercise, physical therapy, and mental, emotional and spiritual healing, all using natural therapeutic agents. The schools of thought that influenced naturopathy include hydrotherapy, nature cure, Eclectic school of medicine, the hygienic system, autotoxicity, homeopathic medicine, herbal medicine, osteopathy and chiropractic, exercise and spirituality. We will be looking at them all briefly in the next section.
Although all naturopaths acknowledge the vital energy in the body and ‘Vis Medicatrix Naturae’, the healing power of nature, not all naturopaths agree on what naturopathic medicine actually is. This was the case originally, with the different schools of thought mentioned above, and also now, 100 years later; things are not entirely different in that naturopaths can still disagree as to what constitutes a naturopath and naturopathic treatment. The GNC (General Naturopathic Council) have tried to rectify this by laying a foundation of teaching that must be covered to be able to register with them. The foundation teaching is to have one main discipline at level 6 (university level) such as herbalism as medical herbalism, Nutritional therapy, homeopathy, kinesiology, osteopathy, chiropractic or acupuncture and to have basic training in hydrotherapy, bodywork, herbs, nutrition and homeopathy. The core disciplines are therefore hydrotherapy, bodywork, herbs, nutrition and homeopathy. One of these must be the main discipline at level 6, the rest at level 4. This course is designed to cover the philosophy and theory of as many of these disciplines as possible. Contact training is necessary (especially for bodywork) for the entire course as well.
If Naturopathic philosophy, together with an understanding of Eastern medicine, are truly understood and embraced then you will always be working from a naturopathic perspective rather than an allopathic one. We have all been indoctrinated with a ‘pill for an ill’ mentality and that we ‘catch’ germs (the germ theory). It is very easy as a therapist to fall into the trap of working allopathically by suggesting a supplement to correct an ailment without totally understanding why the body requires the supplement. Some practitioners suggest huge amounts of supplements for their clients which can be extremely suppressive and will never allow the person to truly heal. The first step to helping a client is to understand them, to understand their reactions to their environment and then to understand why they have their dis-ease. Only then can you truly offer them a way forward with a naturopathic approach. Sadly, many clients now expect a ‘pill for an ill’ and think they are ‘alternative’ by seeking out nutrition or acupuncture but expecting instant results. This is the society that we live in. Unfortunately many clients will be on drugs or have taken suppressive medicine in the past and it then becomes more difficult to unravel what the body is trying to tell us.
A large part of being a naturopath is being a teacher to our clients. This is one of the six principles of naturopathy: ‘Docere’ “doctor as teacher”’. Your clients need to be educated into understanding that the only person responsible for their health is themselves. This does not mean seeking out homeopathy or acupuncture and think they are taking responsibility. It means truly understanding the interactions of the mind, body and spirit and how it is impacting upon their health; how they are interacting with their environment and why; what diet is correct for them and why. Those clients that are truly taking responsibility for their health are few and far between and are a delight to work with. As a practitioner you will have your work cut out to educate your other clients!
A naturopath therefore will give and suggest the least possible to bring the body back into balance. Unless we can understand the healing power of nature and the natural laws that we have learnt from Eastern medicine we will always struggle to understand what our client needs in order to be able to return to health. You will remember from your studies of Unani and Tibetan medicine that the first approach to correcting an ailment is to do as little as possible, generally starting with lifestyle advice and then moving onto diet and techniques and finally using more invasive techniques such as enemas and acupuncture and eventually surgery.
In this module we will start with the history of naturopathy and look at the work of pioneers such as Bechamp, Lindlahr, Jensen, Kellogg and McDonagh to name but a few, and study how medicine has developed over the last few hundred years. One of the requirements of the GNC is for Naturopaths to have an understanding of the history of naturopathy and how it links in with the development of modern medicine. We will then move on to study the philosophy which underpins naturopathy and how naturopathy views disease. Finally we will look at naturopathy in practice, modern naturopathy and naturopathic techniques.
Study Hours: 100
Time: Estimated 2 months (timing up to you)
Enrolment period: 4 months (with option to extend)
Books: Purchased separately
Certification: Certificate in Naturopathy
Study Options: E-learning (online) or Correspondence (paper)
Aims of the course
- To understand the history of naturopathy and the many disciplines that have merged together to form it
- To understand the philosophy that underpins naturopathic practice
- To understand how naturopaths view disease and the progression of disease
- To appreciate how the body works as one unit and how structural changes, diet, lifestyle and emotional stressors all combine to create disease symptoms.
- To learn simple naturopathic techniques and know when to use them in practice.
Why study Naturopathy
An understanding of Naturopathy provides an insight in to disease symptoms that few other disciplines can match. Not only does it provide knowledge of what the body is trying to achieve with its myriad of symptoms that health practitioners are continually confronted with, but it also provides simple answers in the form of dietary and lifestyle changes together with naturopathic techniques. Learning naturopathy gives you the tools to fully understand your clients’ symptoms and how to help them return to improved health.