When I first came across these 6 principles of Naturopathic Medicine is when I knew. This was my path. These are the principles of medicine that I could stand for…for the rest of my life.
Here are those principles:
Vis Medicatrix Naturae (The Healing Power of Nature): Given the right environment the body has an innate ability to heal itself. The body is wise, miraculously wise and often times it is a matter of getting out of our own way to allow it to do the healing. Often you will find naturopathic doctors talking about “the vis”…is your vis strong enough to ward off illness? The Vis is our human pilot light. Its that flame that continues to burn with your constant human finesse to turn it up a bit here or turn it down a bit there. It is the life force that runs through every cell in your body. The life force that must be cherished and nourished. It is abundant until taken advantage of. It’s always wanting to work for you as your partner but you must allow it to work for you and not burn it out (in comes illness, suppressed immunity etc). Your vis is what wakes you up in the morning and takes you through your day. Your vis is what gives you the breath to live fully, create that you which desire, your vis is that which allows you to move beyond yourself and keep moving forward. Your vis is what allows a body in pain to heal. How do you nurture your Vis?? As I always say…start with the basics… good nutrition, sunlight, nature, love, intimacy, hydration, movement and sleep. Vis Medicatrix Naturae is the fire that fuels all.
Primum non nocere (First Do No Harm) – do what must be done, not more, not less. Using the fitting intervention whether it be a surgery, a procedure, a nutrient therapy or shift in lifestyle, first and foremost eliminating harm is #1. Remove the acute situation then address what needs to be balanced and shifted physiologically, mentally and emotionally. Do just enough, not too much, not too little to eliminate harm.
Tolle causum (Treat the Cause) — ok I could get on controversial here given corona but I’ll stick to the basics for now. Treat the cause. The cause…the root, the underlying trigger of disease…it’s not about palliating or suppressing symptomology to create a façade of health. It may take time to peel away the layers of the onion to truly identify the real cause of dysfunction but its in that journey that the healing occurs. It’s not the ONE thing but the sum total of the journey to leads to the uncovering the true elements that need to bel primarily addressed and healed.
Tolle totem (Treat the Whole Person) — we are the sum total of all parts of our being. Our heart doesn’t function separately from our brain, our brain doesn’t communicate only within itself, our gut is not simply a hollow tube disconnected from our brain and so on. The human body cannot be isolated and broken down into individual siloed elements, our bodies are like a beautiful orchestra of finely tuned instruments, functioning in concert, in harmony with a unique melody. And one day, something ever so slightly may begin to warn you, the sound slightly off…so slight that you believe you may only be “hearing things”. You keep playing and playing until that warp simply cannot be ignored any longer. And thus, the journey to identify the origin of the warp begins and so does your healing journey. We treat the whole person looking at your unique melody, your unique harmony that which makes you YOU and that which is taking away from you.
Docere (Doctor as Teacher) — This principle I love and gives me all the feels at once.Truth is I still get nervous to “teach” all that I’ve learned and experienced and yet it’s a responsibility I hold as one of my greatest responsibilities in life. I teach, I don’t dictate.
Prevarie (Prevention) The focus on prevention is what sets naturopathic medicine apart from conventional medicine. That which we can proactively prevent leads to a more fulfilling and joyful life. It is proactive versus reactive. It is active versus passive. This is where you the individual get to stand up and take ownership of your own health as an active participant with your Naturopathic doctor walking along side you in your journey to maintaining and optimizing your health. It’s not sexy but it’s worth everything in the long run.