Here are a few general concepts that myself and other Holistic Health Practitioners and Naturopaths follow when working with clients:
Healing Power of Nature
Symptoms often are the manifestation of the organism’s attempt to defend and heal itself.
For example: a client who complains of hip pain and numbness down his leg. If this client has poor posture and continually sits on a thick wallet or slouching in a chair, the treatment involves correcting the misalignment, educating client on proper posture and informing him not to sit on his wallet or slouch in the chair. Once that is done, the remaining symptoms resolve on their own. Simply recommending an anti-inflammatory (whether drug, botanical or homeopathic) does not address the root cause and even if the symptoms diminish temporarily they will likely return.
Identify and Treat the Causes
Health and disease are logical outcomes of a person’s genetics, vitality, lifestyle, environment and external factors. The primary goal of a holistic health practitioner is to identify, address and/or remove the underlying causes of disease & discomfort. The body naturally compensates whenever the internal functioning is overwhelmed. This compensation shows up as symptoms and as a disruption to health. The aim of the practitioner is to determine the specific trigger, event, or behaviour that initiated the disruption and that needs to be addressed.
Health and disease are complex and logical and they occur for specific reasons. The manifestation of symptoms or disease is never the root cause of the problem. To understand the root cause a practitioner starts at when and why the disruption of health was initiated. To elicit a cure, the factors that initiated the imbalance – the root cause—need to be addressed, especially if they are still occurring.
For example: if someone is angry because of the way they are being treated at work and they hold in their anger this suppression of emotion might result in digestive discomfort, headaches, changes in hormones or mood or in a red rash. If the treatment involves taking something to mask the digestive discomfort, relieve the headache and a cream to minimize the redness of the rash, but does not address the anger, the suppressed anger continues to signal the body, resulting in the same or deeper, more severe symptoms.
Treat the Whole Person
Treat the whole person is a holistic concept that recognizes that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Each individual is unique with their own specific susceptibilities and way of manifesting disharmony and disease. It is the harmonious functioning of all aspects of the individual, within themselves and within their environment that is essential to health.
Assessing all areas of a person’s life includes: lifestyle, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, energetic, environmental, social, internal and external.
Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Prevention of disease is a continual process that starts at conception and continues throughout all of life. It involves every aspect of a person – their lifestyle, emotional health, family and community and the environment in which they live. It is difficult for individuals to be healthy in an unhealthy environment. The role of the practitioner is to facilitate increased awareness, as well as to educate each client on the changes required to address their health concerns and to ensure prevention. Maintaining health and preventing disease is an ongoing process, not a short-term project.
“Do No Harm” Concept
Choosing treatments that support the innate healing ability of the body and that honour the laws of nature. To do no harm, a practitioner chooses the diagnostic strategy necessary for each individual client. By respecting the integrity and vitality of the client, the healing process is supported vs overridden or suppressed. Do no harm involves practitioners teaching clients insight and awareness of how their lifestyle choices affect their health.
It is important to address lifestyle factors in the initial part of treatment if they are the root cause of disease or a contributing factor. Often when these factors are appropriately addressed, minimal other treatment is required. A hierarchy of treatment choices starting with lifestyle changes and then proceeding from least invasive and forceful to most is used.