Naturopathic medicine, or naturopathy, is an approach to health care which aims to promote, restore and maintain health. Naturopathy aims to assist the patient in whatever aspect of their life needs support.
'The Healing Power of Nature' is the overriding principle behind naturopathic medicine, maintaining that all disease is a result of violating the 'laws of nature': Each individual has an inherent ability to restore and maintain health and balance under the right circumstances. It is the job of a naturopathic physician to assist in providing the ideal conditions for good health, to allow the body to function at its optimum level.
In naturopathic philosophy it is not the actual treatment or substance itself that does the healing, but the action of the body's innate self-healing capacity that restores correct function: Only Nature cures.
Naturopathy engages the healing power of Nature through correct nutrition and natural therapies to provide the body with the internal and external environment in which it can heal itself.
Naturopathy is based on the following principles:
* The Healing Power of Nature, or Vis Medicatrix Naturae: There is a 'vital force' or 'life force' which drives the self-healing or self-correcting mechanisms of the body.
* The 'Triad of Health', which describes the connection and interaction between the structural (physical), biochemical (nutritional) and mental/emotional aspects of all living beings. Dysfunction in one area invariably leads to an imbalance in the whole person; and
* The Uniqueness of the Individual: People are genetically, biochemically, structurally and emotionally unique. Each person responds in an individual way to influences, whether psychological, physical, nutritional, social or cultural.
Naturopathic physicians use an eclectic approach, utilising the essential method of interviewing and questions, listening, looking and palpating along with a thorough history of diagnosed disorders, prescribed medication, family history, diet and lifestyle, and performs a focused physical exam when indicated to select the optimal treatment to help reach the patient's goals. Naturopathic physicians can select from a broad range of treatment modalities in which they have been trained and which are closest to their personal philosophy. The form of naturopathic specialism at Greenfields arises from a new specialty called Generative Medicine which evolved from the growing scientific evidence and basis of the Blood Group Diet and GenoType Diet and Lifestyle consultations.
At Greenfields we are finding that Generative Medicine changes the way our patients see things. With practical lifestyle and dietary tools they feel empowered to make a difference in their life situation with renewed energy and vitality. They see their symptoms as barometers to guide decisions in stress management, exercise and food and preparation choices. For some who first come with health challenges as a result of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid conditions, imbalances in hormones, cancer, arthritis and autoimmune states, specific testing and interventions to assist the body's innate healing powers can facilitate a welcomed paradigm shift.
The philosophy of naturopathic medicine is enduring, and has survived the scrutiny of evidence-based medicine. Current outcome studies are amassing evidence from the ongoing investigation and research by utilising the model of Generative Medicine. Generative Medicine aims to identify the self-healing processes and allows the physician to participate in partnership with them. This is achieved by applying the tools of systems biology and bioinformatics (a branch of nutrigenetics) to the complex behaviours seen in health and disease. The Generative Medicine approach allows for safer and more individualised treatments in sickness and in health, with a better understanding of the complex behaviours of the whole person. These behaviours go beyond cause-and-effect relationships and provide a better understanding of the relationships between the individual parts, whether they are genes, cell organelles like mitochondria, organ systems, or even an individual's place in society.
Naturopathic philosophy is utilised to educate the patient to improve their posture, breathing, exercise and rest. Genetic and environmental factors are taken into consideration to individualise correct use of water and light, and nutrition through diet and strategic supplementation. Naturopathic treatment modalities include therapeutic massage, joint mobilisation and manipulation, osteopathy, craniosacral therapy and Chinese medicine. One-off homœopathic remedies can assist release of deep-seated patterns. Frequently recommended therapies include: naturopathic therapeutic massage, hydrotherapy (Epsom salt baths, cold water packs); botanical and nutritional supplements; vibrational essences, herbal or homœopathic remedies for short term benefit or in a first aid context.