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Introduction to Naturopathic Philosophy


Naturopathic Health Programs: What Naturopathic Medicine Can Do For You

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Dr. Arlan Cage, ND, MS

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Naturopathic Medicine is based on the philosophy of Vitalism: that all living beings possess an intelligent, living energy which gives us an innate ability to heal. Naturopathic Medicine, based in European traditions, calls this energy the Vital Force. Oriental Medicine traditions call it the Qi; Ayurvedic Medicine from India refers to it as Prana. Every traditional culture from around the world has their own term for this phenomenon, and more than 95 different names for the Vital Force have been recorded. Interestingly, the most advanced theories of matter and energy in the field of Modern Physics, called Quantum Field Theories, are virtually identical to the descriptions of Qi and Prana given in the ancient texts, many of which are thousands of years old.

The Vital Force constitutes a natural wisdom of the body which constantly works to restore health to the human system -- in essence a living, intelligent, feedback control system. Naturopathic medicine is designed to work with this inherent healing ability in a holistic manner to restore balance and harmony to the whole person.

Naturopathic healing principles recognize that each part of a human being - the body, mind, emotions and spirit - are interconnected and constantly interact. Disharmony on any one of these levels can have adverse effects on our bodies, in other words, cause disease. Likewise, the appropriate healing therapy might need to be directed at any one or a combination of these areas. Therefore, each aspect of a person's makeup and environment must be considered when evaluating their case Naturopathically.

Naturopathic medicine understands that symptoms in different organs or different parts of the body, and seemingly unrelated illnesses or other life events from your past may play an important role in your current condition. Naturopathic doctors will use this holistic model of health to generate a specific, principle-based treatment plan customized for your particular needs.

Old growth forest near timberline on Mt. San Gorgonio, 11,502 ft., in the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area of Southern California.




One of the founders of Naturopathic Medicine, Dr. Benedict Lust, summarized the philosophy of Naturopathy very succinctly in 1918:

"The natural system for curing disease is based on a return to nature in regulating the diet, breathing, exercising, bathing and the employment of various forces to eliminate the poisonous products in the system, and so raise the vitality of the patient to a proper standard of health."

Benedict Lust, 1918,
Founder of Modern, Naturopathic Medicine


Naturopathic Doctors still use this same basic approach today, nearly a century later. The goal of Naturopathic health care is very simple: restoring and maintaining health. It is the belief of Naturopathic doctors that people should be able to live a long, healthy life free from the ravages of chronic disease and pain with their full mental capacity intact. Anything less simply isn't health.

This normal healthy state, sometimes referred to as the Picture of Health, should include the following items:

A healthy, well-balanced diet

Regular exercise

Stress reduction or skilled relaxation program

Daily multivitamins, minerals & antioxidants

An occupation that is meaningful and enjoyable to the individual

This long term picture of health is the goal you and your Naturopathic doctor will be working towards. While your initial treatment program may include a number of the Naturopathic healing modalities, this is usually only temporary and doesn't imply that you will be on a bag full of herbs and supplements the rest of your life.

The 6 Core Principles of
Naturopathic Medicine

Today there are six major principles which define the Naturopathic approach to health care. Naturopathic Doctors apply these principles with every patient.

The Healing Power of Nature
The body's natural wisdom, its Vital Force, constantly works to restore health and balance to the human system. Naturopathic medicine works in harmony with this inherent healing ability in a holistic manner to restore balance and harmony to the whole person.

First, Do No Harm
Naturopathic medicine seeks to avoid harm to patients by working in with the Vital Force rather than against it, and by utilizing natural healing modalities which minimize harmful side effects

Identify and Treat the Root Cause
Illness is the result of an imbalance to the Vital Force which can be caused by any combination of physical, mental, emotional or environmental factors. Naturopathic medicine, with its holistic approach to the patient, seeks to identify the true cause of illness.

Treat the Whole Person
People exist as a multi-dimensional entity, involving the physical, mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual planes of being. Additionally, each individual interacts with and is affected by their daily environment.All these areas must be addressed in any successful healing approach.

Doctor as a Teacher
Naturopathic doctors consider educating their patients to be a vital part of health restoration. The more you know about your condition and the methods used to treat it, the more like it is that will be successful in your healing programs.

Prevention is the best cure
Preventing serious, chronic disease is far easier than treating it. The core of Naturopathic treatment programs constitute a wholistic, natural lifestyle that will also help prevent illnesses in the future.












Copyright 2004-2005 by Dr. Arlan Cage, ND, MS and South Bay Total Health. No part of this website may be reproduced by any means without the express, written permission of the website owner.


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