Naturopathy, or Naturopathic Medicine, is a natural approach to health and healing that is both a way of life and a concept of healing. It has as its primary goal the establishment and maintenance of optimum health, which is achieved by teaching and promoting the principles of wellness, and treating with natural substances, as opposed to relying on pharmaceutical substances, in order to restore dynamic balance to the body and mind.
It is a distinct, integrated system of primary health care, based on the vitalistic principles of naturopathic philosophy and holism, which is able to treat a wide range of disorders and imbalances. Vitalism treats disease through the support and stimulation of the body’s own inherent healing capacity i.e. the vital force promotes self-cleansing and self-repair and subsequently self-healing.
Naturopathy incorporates several fundamental components of health, including biochemistry, biomechanics, and emotional temperament i.e. it takes into account the multifactorial nature of illness, in order to restore healing and balance to the body and mind. Fundamental to the practice of naturopathy is recognition of the integrity of the whole person, which takes into account physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, genetic, social and environmental factors; respect for the healing processes of Nature; and empowerment of the individual to take responsibility for his or her own health process – in partnership with treatments and education provided by the practitioner.
Food is the best medicine
Naturopathic treatments originated as a system of using food, herbs, air, sun, and water for medicine and as healing agents for the restoration of health. The same principles still apply in modern day practice, with some innovations, but primarily it still consists of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of human disorders by the therapeutic use of diverse natural methods and materials, such as:
- Clinical nutrition, which incorporates micronutrient supplementation, diet, and fasting
- Botanical, aromatic and homeopathic medicine, which include herbals, homeopathics, essential oils, flower essences and other energetic medicaments
- Iridology and other technical devices
- Physical medicine, which includes diathermy, ultrasound, exercise, hydrotherapy, detoxifications, massage, manipulations, electromagnetics, acupressure, acupuncture/dry needling, reflexology and aromatherapy
- Counselling, which incorporates diet, lifestyle and stress management, biofeedback, hypnotherapy and stress management.
Naturopathic medicine is based on the following fundamental principles:
- First do no harm – Primum no nocere
- The healing power of Nature – Vis medicatrix naturae
- Identify and treat the cause – Tolle causum
- Treat the whole person – Tolle totum
- The physician as teacher – Docere
- Prevention is the best cure – Preoccupo est optimus remedium
- Establish health and wellbeing. Fundo valetudo quod salus
The naturopathic mode of healing ensures that each individual is treated according to his or her own unique set of symptoms and reactions. Since these indicators govern the naturopathic doctor’s approach towards therapy, each person receives an individualized treatment protocol.
REGULATION OF NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE IN SOUTH AFRICA
The Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa [AHPCSA] is the statutory council that regulates naturopathy in South Africa, in accordance with Act 63 of 1982. The AHPCSA controls all matters relating to students and practitioners including disciplinary matters, educational standards, scopes of practice, and professional fees.www.ahpcsa.co.za