THE NATUROPATHIC APPROACH
by C. Leslie Thomson, B.Sc.*
That word ‘approach’ reﬂects an essential feature of Naturopathy -‐ its philosophical attitude to the problems of life. It is no mere collection of empirical techniques, although like any practical system it had its beginnings in many ﬁelds of observation and in trial and error. Its theories are co-‐ordinated with facts in a consistent fashion which justiﬁes its being called a method.
* President of the Incorporated Society of Registered Naturopaths, and Co-‐Director of the Kingston Clinic, Edinburgh
What this implies may be clariﬁed by considering a person who has headache, and who consults a variety of individuals about his problem. The ﬁrst might prescribe an analgesic, perhaps combined with an anti-‐depressant. Another could offer to sell him extracts from vegetable tissues, but essentially intended to have the same effects as the ethical prescription. Still other advisers would propose to make the sufferer unaware of his distress, by some form of mental exercise, suggestion or counter-‐irritant.
On principle, the Naturopath rejects all of these. All may work, but not by rectifying the causes. They have more afﬁnity with the manipulator who, ﬁnding undue tensions or misalignments in the neck, by suitable adjustments diminishes strain and so gives relief. But Naturopathic philosophy demands that before applying even so apparently obvious a remedy one must ask the question ‘why?’ Headache and neck tension may be due to various primary causes, more often a combination of several. Without seeking to discover at least something about these, one cannot give advice or treatment likely to be of more than transient beneﬁt.