Naturopathy: Part II – Why Naturopathy Works
Michael Garko, Ph.D.
Host – Let’s Talk Nutrition
As a natural approach to health and healing, naturopathy works. There are a variety of reasons why the theory and practice of naturopathy works or otherwise provide a useful way to create and sustain health by preventing and, if necessary, combating disease.
The October, 2009, issue of Healthful Hints focuses on why it is that naturopathy works. The reasons given as to why naturopathy works are not purported to represent all of those factors accounting for its success in helping people to create and sustain health or otherwise prevent and combat disease. Rather, they are intended to capture the spirit and fundamental essence of why naturopathy works as a philosophy, art and science of natural health and healing.
Natural Healing Methods
Naturopathy works because it relies upon natural healing methods and therapies in prevention and treatment of acute and chronic disease. Lindlahr (1975) contends that naturopathy/Nature Cure works because it fits every case of acute and chronic disease in that “it includes everything good in natural healing methods” (p. 141) and avoids those medical principles and procedures that promote disease and are unnatural to the healing properties and potentials of the human body.
Emphasis on Treating & Curing Disease
Naturopathy works because Naturopathy recognizes the importance in diagnosing disease conditions and endorses a thorough examination of the patient employing all methods from the oldest to the most recent and advanced and from the orthodox/conventional to irregular/alternative in nature. However, naturopathy believes less time should be spent diagnosing for the sake of verifying a particular diagnosis, with more time being devoted to treating and curing a particular disease. “Curing is far more vital than diagnosing” (Lindlahr, 1975, p. 142). Hence, naturopathy works because it calls for a shift in emphasis from diagnosing disease for the sake of verifying a diagnosis to treating disease for the purpose of curing it, while at the same time recognizing the importance diagnosing using all appropriate methods which are available.
The Unity of Disease & Treatment
Naturopathy works because it provides a parsimonious and unified explanation (i.e., theory) of treating and curing disease by drawing a correspondence between methods of treatment and the three primary manifestations of disease. According to Lindlahr (1975), “… all the different forms, phases and phenomena of disease arising within the human organism apart from those caused by accident or by external conditions unfavourable to human life, grow out of one or more of the three primary manifestations of disease” (p. 29), which represent a violation of one or more of the three basic and necessary conditions for cellular health.
Thus, by attributing the cause of all disease to a violation of one or more of the three necessary cellular conditions for health, naturopathy advocates a “unity of disease” theory in that “all disorders can be traced back to three primary manifestations, namely: (1) Lowered vitality; (2) Abnormal composition of blood and lymph; (3) Accumulation of waste materials, morbid matter and poisons” (Lindlahr, 1975, p.142).
The Healer Within
Naturopathy works because it allows the body to heal itself by allowing “the healer within” to repair the damage done by disease or injury and restore the body to its natural, healthy condition. “The healer within” is a supreme intelligence and power, a Life Force derived from a Creative Intelligence, working within and through every atom, molecule, cell, tissue and organ of the human body. “All that the physician can do is to remove obstructions and to establish normal conditions within and around the patient, so that ‘the healer within’ can do his work to the best advantage” (Lindlahr, 1975, p. 24).
Last but not least, naturopathy works because it puts the focus on preventing disease rather than on combating/fighting the symptoms of disease, although it is a proven and effective approach to treat and cure disease as well (see Lindlahr, 1975; Mitchell, 2001). Naturopathy devotes the thrust of its attention “in creating healthy conditions in the habits and surroundings of the patient in the belief that the disease symptoms will then take care of themselves and will disappear because of non-support.” (Lindlahr, 1975, p. 147).
Naturopathy works because it (1) relies upon natural healing methods and therapies in prevention and treatment of acute and chronic disease, (2) puts the emphasis on treating and curing disease, (3) gives health consumers a unified approach to treating and curing disease, (4) allows the body to heal itself by allowing “the healer within” to repair the damage done by disease or injury and restore the body to its natural, healthy condition and (5) puts the focus on preventing disease rather than on combating/fighting the symptoms of disease, among other factors.
Lindlahr, H. (1975). Philosophy of natural therapeutics: The classic nature cure guide to health and healing. London: Vermilion Press.
Mitchell, S. (2001). A practical guide to naturopathy: Understanding the healing power of nature. London: Vermilion Press.