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Nature Cure

Vis medicatrix naturae – the healing power of nature – is the core tenet of a system of medicine known as nature cure. This power describes the healing ability inherent to the body that is governed by the laws of nature. Nature – being both the sum total of the forces at work throughout the universe and the elements of the natural world, such as mountains, rivers, plants and animals – is ordered and intelligent. The human body has a natural state, and when it is thrown into disequilibrium the body experiences “dis-ease”. Human biology is self-regulating, it naturally corrects and adjusts to reach a homeostatic equilibrium. Nature Cure practitioners acknowledge that the nature of human biology, as the nature of the Universe, is to maintain equilibrium. It is my belief that a physician’s primary role is to identify and remove obstacles of equilibrium and to facilitate and augment the natural healing ability both within the individual and also within the larger community.

The dual degree program in both Naturopathic and Classical Chinese Medicine offered me the unique opportunity of simultaneously studying the intricate theory and philosophy of both medical paradigms. The ideas common to both systems of medicine follow nature cure theory and view health as an adherence to the basic laws and energy patterns of Nature. The origin of disease is viewed as noncompliance with Nature’s laws. When the behavior of a human being, or of a community of human beings, diverges from these laws, the natural harmony of the macrocosm is disturbed. As a result, the vibrational state of the human body is similarly altered. When one lives out of harmony with the laws of nature, one gets sick. Historically, the role of the physician in both Naturopathic and Classical Chinese Medicine was to first recognize the imbalances manifesting in the human being as disease symptoms and then to look towards identifying the root of this imbalance by turning to the study of what is out of balance with the relationship between Human Beings and everything else that is not human; the more-than-human world.

The early developments of both Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine began with the expression of the human condition in terms of a more-than-human world; a world where humans actively participated with all of the phenomena and manifestations existing in the Universe. Both systems were predicated on the observation that energy patterns observed in nature not only influence the human body but are observed themselves in the body. What occurs in the macrocosm (outside) also occurs in the microcosm (inside). In Chinese medical theory this is referred to as the system of correspondence.

The system of correspondence has withstood the unfolding of historical events in China, and has remained an integral part of the system of Chinese Medicine. Chinese medical practitioners assist their patients back into a concordance with the laws of nature. Treatments utilize acupuncture and herbal formulas to restore the internal balance of vital force, while at the same time they align and harmonize the physiology of the human being with the macrocosmic energy patterns of the Universe. The root of Naturopathic and Chinese Medicine are one and the same. That is, to define the laws of nature and then to live in accordance with them.

Over time, medical theory in the west increasingly lost touch with the science of exploring and defining the laws of Nature. Western, allopathic medicine now follows the premise that the human body is governed almost exclusively by the laws of biomechanics and physical equations – a human derived explanatory model far removed from the originating source energetic pattern itself. The founding Naturopathic Nature Cure practitioners, such as Priessnitz, Kneipp, Lindlahr, and Lust are credited as instigating the medical revolution that is known in the West as Nature Cure. These are the forefathers of the naturopathic medical profession and they brought the “Return to Nature” philosophical approach back to Western medicine.

At CDA Acupuncture and Holistic Healing we take inspiration from the early nature cure movements. It is time once again to rally around the battle cry “Return to Nature” and embrace the nature cure movement.
Together, let’s put the nature back into naturopathic medicine, Dr. Toby

Dr. Toby details his healing experience in the Alps – which set him on his path to healing with nature in his Chinese Medicine thesis available to download here.