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Naturopathic Principles: Treat the Cause

Date: 29-09-2021

Written by Chantelle van der Weyden BPsych (Hons), AdvDip(Nat), AdvDip(NutMed)

Welcome to the third instalment of our naturopathic philosophies series. The third principle is Treat the Cause (tolle causam).

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease” (Thomas Alva Edison, 1847-1931).

Identifying and treating the cause is based on the assumption that health and disease happen for a reason. Some of these reasons include genetics and physiology, diet, lifestyle, social-economic status, one’s environment, previous medical intervention, resilience, social support and spiritual connection. Naturopathy works from the perspective that health can be improved by reducing the number of factors that place a strain on the body and interfere with its ability to heal and return to normal functioning.

Identifying the cause of disease goes beyond the physiology and pathology of the individual. Our role is to understand not only the specific trigger, situation, environmental factor or behaviour that initiated disease, but also to understand the emotions attached to health and disease. This is what sets naturopathic practitioners apart from other practitioners – a naturopathic assessment takes the time to delve deep into the patients’ health and emotional history to determine the cause of their individual manifestation of symptoms.

An initial consultation with a naturopath will involve questions around:
·         Your health and symptom history
·         Your diet, exercise, sleep habits, work, hobbies, self-care practices and other lifestyle factors
·         The environment in which you live, work and spend most of your time
·         Your social, spiritual, and emotional environment

And in order to ensure a complete understanding of the causes of the patient’s presentation laboratory tests and various physical examinations may be undertaken, as well as referrals to doctors or specialists where required. 

Naturopathic practitioners appreciate that human beings are complex, unique, and dynamic individuals, and the cause of symptoms for one patient may be completely different for the cause of those same symptoms in another patient. It is once the underlying causes are determined, that the healing can truly begin. And in understanding ones vulnerabilities, the patient and practitioner can work to prevent further disease.

Catch up on the previous instalment of our naturopathic principles blog here.