Why our consultations take so long (or “The 6 Core Principles of Naturopathy”).
When someone is first new to Naturopathy and discover the initial consultation takes a minimum of 90 minutes (and often more as I love a good chat), they are often astonished. After all, most health care appointments you barely get a chance to sit down. To have a conversational chat is unheard of.
But Naturopathy is different. Naturopathy is a healing system based on you the patient, and these 6 fundamental core principles which underpin our practice.
These tenets of Naturopathy are:
The Healing Power of Nature (vis medicatrix naturae)
First Do No Harm (primum non nocere)
Identify and Treat the Cause (tolle causam)
Treat the Whole Person (tolle totem)
Doctor as a Teacher (docere)
So what do these principles actually mean?
The Healing Power of Nature
Your body has an innate ability to heal and this is central to all Naturopathic treatment. As Naturopaths we seek to support, facilitate and augment this healing process. This will also include identifying and removing “Obstacles to Cure” but more about that later.
Fundamentally your body knows exactly what it is doing. Symptoms are the body’s way of compensating or compromising when its ability to function is overwhelmed. We want to support this innate ability so that it initiates the healing process and moves back into balance.
First Do No Harm
Firstly for those who are rolling their eyes and thinking “She says she is not going to do any harm but what does she call that black gunk she forces me to drink?”. Nice try. Foul tasting does not constitute harm.
Now we have covered that we can move on…
“Do No Harm” means that we must choose methods and medicines that are safe, gentle, and in a dose that minimises the risk of harmful side effects. It also means we need to ensure our medicines do not interact with any other prescription medicines you may be taking. We just really want to “nudge” your innate ability to heal. We don’t want to bash it with a sledge hammer.
Identify and Treat the Cause
Remembering that signs and symptoms are the road map to the root cause, we also want to identify any underlying causes. This can include genetics, lifestyle factors, social factors, environmental factors, medicinal factors and anything that may interfere with your body’s ability to function normally. These are what we call “Obstacles to Cure” - things that get in the way of healing.
Health and Disease are logical - they happen for a reason. And I want to find that reason. So I ask a lot of questions. A lot of questions….
Treat the Whole Person
You are not your symptoms. You are a physical being, a social being, an emotional being, a thinking being, and a spiritual being in your own environment. You are an individual and your symptoms are unique to you. Any treatment I offer takes into account all of these factors as they all influence health.
This also means that we delve into how you experience your ill health. I will admit I often get a look of “What the hell am I doing here?” from a client when I ask how they experience diabetes. Whilst I am well educated in clinical studies, I am more interested in your unique experience of your illness.
The word “Docere” or “Doctor” comes from the latin word to teach and my role is to educate you on factors that may be affecting your health and disease, and so that you are aware of how your choices impact your health. I want my patients to understand firstly where their disease may have come from and then to encourage self responsibility for moving to a state of health. This is the “Naturopath - Patient relationship”. You are not a passenger in your own wellbeing. You are the driver and I am in the back seat with the directions. We are in a partnership.
As we develop a relationship with our clients we want them to move toward a lifestyle that is health promoting. We don’t want to just give some vitamins and foul tasting black gunk as a reaction to an illness or disease. We want to increase awareness of what changes are required to prevent or slow down any state of ill health. We promote a return to a more simple and health promoting lifestyle.
Because Naturopathy is a patient centred approach rather than a disease centred approach.and because we have held on to these concepts of health and healing as the foundation to our practice, is essentially why Naturopathic consultations are so long and why we ask so many questions.
And because I love a good chat….