One of the tenants that distinguishes naturopathic medicine is called the vis medicatrix naturae, or the healing power of nature. It is also called the vital force. We believe that our bodies have the ability to heal. The job of the naturopathic doctor is to aid people in removing any obstacles to health and to support the vital force. Obstacles to good health include excessive and prolonged stress, lack of sleep, poor digestion, dehydration and lack of exercise to just name a few. We support the vital force with techniques such as hydrotherapy, homeopathy, and teaching nutritional and lifestyle information. Instead of going in with the intent to fix a person, we support the natural healing ability of each person. In other words, we believe the healing comes from within each person and our job is to support and nurture...not fix. It is a paradigm that works well in many cases.
I work with many people diagnosed with cancer. In most instances, I am providing integrative care, in that people are receiving both naturopathic and conventional care for their cancer. In this case, the naturopathic paradigm comes together with the paradigm of conventional medicine. Cancer may be at an advanced stage that needs an immediate fix, but naturopathic medicine can also be used to help support the vital force of the person in healing. As I continue to learn and grow within my profession, I continue to learn there is no one right path for everyone. Sometimes it is in bringing together different paradigms and using different ways of looking at health that the people we are trying to help truly win.