Natural and complementary healthcare uses a person-centric approach which supports the regulatory ability of the human to promote healing and wellness. It looks at the constitution or nature of the individual, and the influence of the inner and outer environment on their health.
Concepts in natural health
Natural health philosophy provides the practitioner a unique lens to look at and assist an individuals health. Key concepts of this philosophy are:
- Individual, person-centric – practitioners aim to treat people, not just disease. The individual is not simply seen as a biological organism, but also as an emotional and social being, with their own goals and aspirations. Treatments are highly individualised to meet the specific needs of each individual client.
- Holism – looks at the whole, not just the parts. Conversely, holism also recognises the inter-connectivity of the human organism, and how a part influences the whole.
- Homeostasis and self regulation – the body is always attempting to keep itself in balance; when these processes become askew, symptoms develop.
- Power of nature – a belief in the individuals own self-healing capacity. Many natural health treatments aid to remove the obstacles preventing the body from self-regulating and achieving balance.
- Causation – practitioners attempt to find and aim therapies at the cause(s) underpinning an individuals health status.
- Empowerment & education – the educative side of natural medicine is there to empower the individual to be in charge of their healthcare. Natural health and complementary medicine don’t aim to build a dependency on a practitioner, but instead, encourages a shared, therapeutic partnership where your health-goals are addressed.
- Do no harm – natural healthcare therapies aim to use the least invasive and toxic therapies, and instead, use those that are nurturing and supportive.
- Prevention – by improving general wellness, resilience is built for future health challenges.
Constitution and temperament
Our natures, or ‘how we are built’, give us our unique positive characteristics, but also contain the seeds of what we’re susceptible to.
The constitution is considered ‘that which we are born with’, akin to our genetic heritage, while the temperament is that which forms through our life experience, including our personality.
As a unit, they dictate how we perceive and respond to the environment, and therefore form the soil for future health.
By acknowledging the uniqueness in people, natural medicine aims to strengthen our constitution so that we can adequately adapt to changes in our environment and life situation.
Inner and outer environment
Both the inner and outer environment impact our health, and in holistic medicine, both are examined to understand the factors influencing an individual’s’ health status.
The inner environment includes the microbiome (in particular, gut flora), internal toxin build up, functioning of organs, and hereditary (constitutional) influences.
The outer environment includes where we live and work, social relationships, the quality of the air we breathe and food we eat, and chemical exposure.
The outer and inner environments are linked. For example, the food we eat can influence our inner environment, and even our genes (the epigenome).