You are vaguely familiar with naturopathy. In your mind, it’s an alternative medicine that uses plants to heal.
But did you know that naturopathy goes beyond herbal medicine? In this article we will decipher the holistic approach of naturopathy.
What is naturopathy?
According to the World Health Organization, naturopathy is the third traditional medicine after Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda and is defined as “a set of care methods aimed at strengthening the body’s defenses by means considered natural and biological”. In other words, naturopathy is a non-conventional medicine that aims to strengthen and optimize health through the use of 10 natural techniques which are diet, physical activity, emotional management, breathing exercises, massage, the use of Bach flowers, phytotherapy, the use of water in all its forms, reflexology and energy techniques.
Its main characteristic lies in its preventive action. Naturopathy is indeed well placed to prevent health problems rather than cure them. It will encourage the person to adopt a better lifestyle and thus avoid certain pathologies as much as possible. Even if most people who come to consult a naturopath already suffer from one or more ailments, naturopathy will support the organism in order to regain well-being, but long-term work based on lifestyle changes will have to be undertaken at the same time, as this is the key to feeling healthier on a daily basis.
In order to act on the health of the person, naturopathy will also have an individualized approach because each person is unique and has different needs. This characteristic makes it possible to dig deep into the person and find the cause(s) of his or her malaise. Even if two people come to consult for the same reasons, each accompaniment will be personalized according to their needs, their motivations and their capacities to implement the advice given during the session.
Another point, but not the least, that differs from other alternative or allopathic medicines is the degree of commitment. The success of a naturopathic treatment does not only come from the naturopath’s skills and his or her tailor-made recommendations, the person’s commitment is essential. The naturopath will not be able to do things in the place of the consultant. Only he can act on his health, otherwise no stable solution can be found. Naturopathy certainly requires effort, but a progressive and well-targeted approach will help the person to obtain long-term results.
What are the foundations of naturopathy?
To understand the holistic approach of naturopathy, it is important to look at the foundations of naturopathy. It draws from those established by Hippocrates, the founding father of conventional medicine. Hippocratic medicine is based on various health principles, 5 of which are still applied in naturopathy:
- Causalism or identifying the cause: the naturopath will seek to understand the signs of the body as symptoms to be able to trace the source of this disorder and thus identify one or more causes.
- Vitalism or the principle of vital energy: a vital force lives within us and is inscribed in each of our cells. It allows us to live and to start the self-healing process when necessary. During the naturopathic consultation, the naturopath proposes a vitality assessment in order to gauge the level of vital energy and to act accordingly.
- Humorism or the science of humors: Humors are simply the liquids of our body (blood, lymph, serum…) and are a key point of health because we are composed of 60% of liquid. A clear circulation of these fluids is synonymous with health. This is why the naturopath can propose a detox cure in order to drain the liquids and eliminate the surplus of toxins.
- Hygienism or the naturopathic art of living: naturopathy is not just a traditional medicine. It is an art of living that is lived on a daily basis by following the rules of nutrition, physical activity and relaxation. Without a healthy lifestyle adapted to our needs, there is no optimal health. The naturopath will thus focus on a set of natural techniques for a better quality of life that is a source of well-being.
- Holism or the global approach of the person: naturopathy is not specialized because each individual is unique. The naturopath has a broader vision in order to accompany the person on all levels (physical, psychological, emotional…). This founding principle is the essence of naturopathy, which will be detailed below.
What does it mean to have a holistic approach in naturopathy?
It is true that the holistic approach is a term that is increasingly used in the alternative medicine sector. In addition to its fashionable effect, the holistic approach has a key role in the accompaniment of the person. It is not new because it has been used since the dawn of time in certain traditional medicines (Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda…) of which naturopathy is a part.
Holistic comes from the Greek “Holos”, which means the whole, the whole. The holistic approach consists in considering the globality of the person in order to better apprehend and understand him or her. This global vision allows for a wider range of possibilities since it takes into account the physical, emotional, mental, sociocultural, environmental and spiritual dimensions of the person.
Indeed, everything is linked and the person is not limited to one organ or one system. For example, acne can be the consequence of different disorders such as chronic stress, food intolerances or hormonal imbalance. It is possible to act just on acne by taking medication or natural remedies such as herbal tea. This method will act on the symptom and not the cause. On the other hand, acne can be treated in a holistic way by going back to the cause and acting on different levels: anti-acne beauty routine, self-massage of the face, food profiling, Bach flowers …. Naturopathy places the person’s health problem in a more global study of his or her lifestyle and history in order to better understand the source of the problem and thus advise the appropriate techniques. This is why naturopathy is not limited to the use of plants or natural food supplements as one might think. The naturopath uses of course the pantes in order to support the person. But at the same time, he will personalize his support and draw from his toolbox, his famous 10 natural techniques, so that the person can make adjustments to his lifestyle. This approach certainly requires changes in one’s lifestyle but it is worth it because it allows one to rediscover the joy of being in good health in the long term.
So when a person wants to take action on their health in a holistic way, they are ready to question their lifestyle choices and to commit with the naturopath to gradually change their lifestyle. Many of us are ready to make efforts for the planet by sorting waste for example but what about our health? Is it optimal? Aren’t there any small everyday things that bother us? What are the solutions to improve it? This questioning makes it possible to become an actor of health again. The naturopath will be there to guide the person in his choices.
How to apply this holistic vision to your lifestyle?
Naturopathy is an art of living that is lived daily. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to feel good every day. Here are some examples of holistic lifestyle according to naturopathy to be applied on a daily basis:
- Food: among the principles of a healthy and balanced diet, one of the most important is to eat fruits and vegetables every day. Choose seasonal, organic and local fruits and vegetables to guarantee an optimal nutritional intake. Eat them in different ways: raw vegetables, soup, puree, smoothie, in a quiche, a cake, juice, simmered, ….
- Physical activity: get moving whenever you can, even if it’s only 10 minutes a day. Being active on a daily basis will have an impact on both physical and mental health. For example, dance to your favorite music and see the difference.
- Relaxation: take 5 minutes a day to clear your mind and relax. This will allow you to come back to the present moment and take care of yourself because we forget ourselves quickly when we are caught in the flow of our day: meditation, stretching, micro-naps… All means are good to let go.
- Breathing: do you know how to breathe well? Have you ever become aware of your breathing? This can also be a good way to relax. So try to breathe consciously and focus on your breathing to oxygenate your cells and why not better manage your stress.
- Bach flowers: test the Bach flowers. These are precious elixirs that have the power to transform your negative emotions into positive ones. Always carry in your bag the ” Rescue ” complex which can be of great help in critical situations like fears, anxiety attacks…
- Phytotherapy: have you ever diffused essential oils? In addition to their strong pleasant smell, their aromatic essences are diffused in the air to bring various benefits for health: to clean the air of your place of life, to help you to relax or to bring you a blow of whip. Choose essential oils adapted to diffusion and air the room well after each use.
- Hydrology: soak in a bath. Hot water has the power to relax and to chase away the tension points in the body accumulated during the day. Adapt the temperature to your own feelings and if you don’t have a bathtub, use a foot bath. This will also have a relaxing effect.
- Reflexology: stimulate certain reflex points located on your hand, such as the 4GI point. Located in the hollow at the junction of the index finger and thumb bones, it will help relieve a headache or a difficult digestion.
- Sun: go out and get some fresh air and expose yourself to the sun in summer and winter. Its radiation will put you in a good mood, help you capture the famous vitamin D and activate your vital energy. There is no need to catch the sun’s rays directly. You can put yourself in the shade of a sunny area.
- Self-massage: massage your hands or feet whenever you have the opportunity. Intuitive self-massage is one of the best ways to act on your well-being because it is simple, effective, all-purpose and does not require any equipment. Don’t hesitate to massage your hands intuitively during your public transport journey to turn this often unpleasant moment into a cocooning moment.
- It’s up to you to choose one or several examples according to your needs, your environment, your abilities, your family life…. The most important thing is to take pleasure in doing them and to anchor them in your routine.
To summarize, the holistic approach of naturopathy is a teaching, whose objective is to transmit to those who wish to take their health in hand, the best way to maintain a balanced life in order to be well in their body, mind and environment.
If the global vision of naturopathy tempts you, book your session for a 100% personalized consultation.