Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of healing – a philosophy, science, art and practice which seeks to promote health by stimulating and supporting the body's inherent power to regain harmony and balance. Although the term naturopathy was first used at the turn of the 20th century, the philosophical basis and many of the methods of naturopathic medicine are ancient, some dating back to at least 400 BC, when Hippocrates became famous for his treatment of disease in accordance with natural laws.
The philosophy of naturopathic medicine is based upon three basic principles. The first principle is that the body possesses the power to heal itself through its internal vitality and intelligence. This vital force is the foundation of naturopathic philosophy and all the naturopathic practitioner does is to create the most favourable conditions to stimulate and enhance this healing power of nature.
The second principle is that disease is a manifestation of the vital force applying itself to the removal of obstructions to the normal functioning of organs and issues. The naturopathic practitioner always seeks to discover and remove the basic causes of disease whether they be:
- Chemical ie an imbalance in the chemistry of the body fluids due to dietary deficiency or dietary excess, retention of waste products due to inefficient functioning of the lungs, kidneys and bowels, or poor circulation of body fluids.
- Mechanical ie muscular tensions, strained ligaments, stiff joints, poor posture due to occupational factors, as well as spinal misalignments, leading to an interference in the functioning of the nervous system and the musculo-skeletal system generally.
- Psychological ie impaired function induced by stress, which may be due to worries and upsets in personal and domestic life and/or anxieties and pressures at work.
The third principle is that naturopathic medicine is a holistic approach to health, in other words, disease affects the whole person – body, mind and spirit, and not simply an isolated organ or system. Each person responds in unique ways to his or her environment, each has individual strengths, weaknesses and needs. Their body’s reactions to the same stress may be very different depending on their level of health, inherited tendencies, previous medical history, etc. In treating the whole person the naturopathic practitioner searches for causes at many levels, and attempts to eliminate the fundamental cause of illness, not simply to remove symptoms.
The task of naturopathic practitioners is twofold. First, to educate their patients to take more responsibility for their health and to assist them to understand the fundamental laws of health relating to rest, exercise, nutrition and life-style.
Second, using natural therapies, to increase the vitality of the individual and to remove any obstructions, chemical, physical or psychological which may be interfering with the normal functioning and internal harmony of the organs and tissues.
Therapies such as:
- Nutrition and dietetics
- Fasting (the controlled abstinence from food)
- Structural adjustment (eg osteopathy, massage and bodywork)
- Hydrotherapy (the use of water as therapy)
- Healthy lifestyle
- Education in naturopathic philosophy
In addition other therapies may be used when necessary such as relaxation/meditation techniques, the use of plant remedies, flower essences, reflextherapy/acupressure etc.
In particular Graeme Stroud has used and taught meditation as a great self-healing tool. Graeme also qualified as a healer in 1987 and may use energy and other holistic/natural healing methods.
In the late 1980’s Graeme also trained extensively in the use of sustained acupressure pointholding (body electronics) which is a unique and remarkable form of body-mind-emotion release and healing.