Robert Bailie first became interested in Naturopathy while managing the occupational health and safety and rehabilitation department of a large corporation in Australia. He noticed that injured employees enjoyed a quicker recuperation period, and therefore an earlier return to normal duties when they underwent Naturopathic treatment. While carrying out a course in Naturopathic studies in Sydney in 1996, he discovered, and quickly also became fascinated with the science of Homoeopathy. Here Robert uncovers the history and secrets of these ancient forms of alternative healing:
What exactly is Naturopathy and Homeopathy?
Naturopathy is a complete system of western natural medicine; it includes the use of Botanic Medicine, Nutrition, Homeopathy and manipulative techniques. It is a holistic system in that it addresses the person as a whole –physical, mental and emotional. It is often termed ‘preventative medicine’ because of its ability to assess a propensity to disease, thereby preventing its manifestation. Naturopathy addresses a person’s health through extensive investigation into lifestyle, nutrition and medical history, and provides healing therapies and detoxification techniques accordingly. Diagnostic methods include iridology or naturopathic diagnostics of nails, skin or tongue, as well as conventional diagnostic methods such as lab tests or ultrasounds.
Homeopathy is a system of vibrational medicine, its medicines are diluted far beyond molecular existence but retain the energetic aspects of the original substance. It therefore has an energetic effect on the organism which in turn has physical, emotional and mental balancing effects. It is a system based on the principle of ‘like cures like’ or that a potentized substance which causes a set of symptoms in a healthy individual, can cure similar symptoms in a sick person. It is a process of symptom matching remedy to disease state –mental, emotional or physical. Limited doses of the remedy are given in order to stimulate the inherent healing powers of the organism and this is followed by a period of improvement often leading to cure. The ideal of Homeopathy is to achieve rapid cure in the most harmless and effective way.
What is the history of these specific forms of medicine and how do their modern day practices differ from the original?
Naturopathy, like herbalism, has been developing since the beginning of time for man on earth. Ancient manuscripts on natural therapy are found in every major archeological excavation site. Hippocrates (460BC) is considered the father of Naturopathy. He described and taught the very principles still applied by modern Naturopaths such as “let food be your medicine,” and he relied on the healing powers of nature. Aesculapius was the first to utilize toxic substances for treating disease and therefore is considered the father of modern pharmaceutical medicine. Naturopathy has evolved from those days, and today has set standards for education and training and is very much grounded in modern science.
Homeopathy was discovered by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). He became disillusioned with the toxic medical practices of his day and resigned to the translation of medical/pharmacological texts when he discovered the law of ‘like cure like.’ He firstly experimented on himself with Cinchona bark which was used to treat malaria and found that it caused malaria type symptoms to him. He then experimented on his peers with diluted remedies to avoid toxic effects and gradually discovered that potentization of diluted substances caused them to gain in therapeutic effect while eliminating toxic effects. Hahnemann published the Organon of Medicine which outlines the principles and practice of Homeopathy. This same treatise remains the most important treatment manual for Homeopaths to this day.
Naturopathy has been described as a pseudoscience. What are your opinions on this label? And where is the proof that Naturopathic and Homeopathic medicines work?
Naturopaths are trained in Anatomy/Physiology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Symptomatology, Diagnosis and Pathology. Are these not sciences? Herbs have been studied for many years and so have vitamins and minerals and science has acknowledged and confirmed the physiological effects of these Naturopathic medicines. In our modern age of information it is very simple to find clinical studies on herbs, vitamins and homeopathic remedies. The European Commission has gone so far as to regulate the supply of herbs, vitamins and Homeopathic remedies. Science is about the constant discovery and study of our environment, it is progressive, and if certain healing techniques are not currently understood, they most definitely will be in the future. The greatest proof of efficacy for Naturopathy and Homeopathy is the increased popularity they enjoy worldwide.
How do people benefit by using Naturopathic and Homeopathic remedies over more widely accepted western medicines?
All real natural healing techniques work in the same direction; they address the causes of illness, and employ methods to support the organism so as to stimulate its own healing capabilities. Symptoms are just the manifestation of disease; they are the way an imbalanced organism expresses itself in an attempt to heal itself. Symptoms are never suppressed in alternative medicine. Natural medicine has no side effects or toxicity. Pharmaceutical medicine on the other hand is mostly based on suppression of symptoms, thereby creating chronic illness and dependency. Just look at the accompanying leaflet in your prescription medication, which lists some of the usual side effects.
Are the remedies always specialized to directly deal with specific conditions, or are there any general well-being remedies that you would recommend for general daily use?
In Naturopathy treatment protocols are individualized for every patient. Treatment is based on the requirements of the organism as a whole, although specific herbs or supplements are also used to ‘target’ a particular ailment. In Homeopathy there are very specific remedies for acute illness or acute exacerbations of a chronic disease which afford quick relief or treatment. These are always based on the similarity of symptoms and remedy. This is called ’acute prescribing.’ However, I believe, the greatest expression of Homeopathy lies in ‘constitutional prescribing’ based on personality types. These latter remedies have a general as well as local effect but serve to tone up the entire organism, boost immunity, balance emotions and bring a state of wellness.
I would recommend a daily dose of 1000mg vitamin C for all adults; children have less – 250mg to 500mg. The virtues of vitamin C are way too many to list here – antioxidant, immune boosting and connective tissue integrity to name a few. I would also recommend a glass of warm water with the juice of 1/2 a lemon (or 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar) first thing in the morning. This has a great cleansing effect throughout the body. A carrot juice a day is better than any multivitamin or mineral, especially if juiced with celery, beetroot and a bit of fresh ginger!
Can Naturopathy and Homeopathy help with conditions that are considered long term such as cancers or Thyroid imbalances or mental illness?
Both Naturopathy and Homeopathy are especially useful in the management of chronic disease. This is the area where these systems excel. I usually employ Homeopathy for all sorts of mental illness and it is always easier if patients are not medicated, however, most are. Thyroid imbalances usually come along fine in time, and symptoms are regulated very quickly with Homeopathic remedies. The treatment of patients with cancer requires a comprehensive treatment protocol including herbs, mega doses of vitamins-antioxidants, Homeopathy, nutrition and other more specialized minerals and treatments. No matter what stages a disease has progressed, it is always possible to afford relief, lessen the suffering and increase quality of life. I think the only condition that can not be treated is narrow mindedness.
Do these forms of medication work on a long-term basis treating a problem so it will not return, or are they more quick short-term fixes?
Benefits from treatment occur quite early, however certain conditions do require many months of treatment to fully balance out, if they ever will. So I will certainly provide a quick fix to alleviate the suffering while working towards complete cure in time.
How much do external influences such as lifestyle, diet or fitness influence the effectiveness of Naturopathic or Homeopathic remedies?
Lifestyle, diet and fitness are crucial to a positive outcome and these are dealt with in great detail especially in Naturopathy.
Can people make their own Naturopathic or Homeopathic remedies or medicines?
People can make their own home natural remedies and Naturopathy seeks to encourage and train the patient to do so. Homoeopathic remedies are not usually made at home and should only be prescribed by a qualified practitioner.
Do you believe that Naturopathy and Homeopathy can be as effective as or even more effective than Western Medicines?
As a practitioner, I have always sought to provide my patients with the best advice as to their choice of treatment and that includes pharmaceuticals and surgery. Certain conditions require pharmaceutical drugs; there is no question about that. For example insulin dependent diabetics need their insulin even though we may achieve a reduction in its requirement and delay the onset of the disease using natural methods. People that have had their Thyroid Glands destroyed or removed will always need Thyroxine. I have never rejected a treatment that is effective and reasonably safe and in the best interests of my patient even if it comes from the medical world. Having said that, and with complete respect to medical practitioners, their knowledge and training, I think that pharmaceutical medicine has largely been a failure in the treatment of chronic disease. I think that while surgery has advanced greatly, pharmaceutical medicine has not kept up with scientific developments. After 15 years of practice in Naturopathy and Homeopathy, I know that natural medicine is highly effective, safe, ethical and affordable in the treatment of chronic disease.
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