Six Principles of Animal Naturopathy
The Healing Power of Nature (vix medicatrix naturae)
The body has the inherent ability to heal itself. This healing process is intelligent and ordered. Animal naturopaths support and assist the healing process by identifying and removing obstacles to a cure, and by using natural methods and medicines that work with, not against, the body’s natural processes.
Identify and Address the Cause (tolle causum)
Every illness has a cause.Causes may occur on the physical, mental or emotional level. Symptoms are expressions of the body’s attempt to heal, but are not the cause of illness. Animal naturopathic practitioners are trained to find and remove the underlying cause of an illness rather than just eliminate or suppress symptoms.
First Do No Harm (primum non nocere)
Animal naturopaths use methods that minimize the risk of harmful side effects. Methods designed to suppress symptoms but not remove the underlying cause may be harmful, their use is always avoided.
Doctor as Teacher (docere)
The original meaning of the word "doctor" is teacher. A principal objective of animal naturopathy is to educate the client and emphasize responsibility for their animal's health.
Target the Whole Animal
When evaluating an animal; all aspects of that animal (physical, mental and emotional) are
taken into account.
Prevention is the Best Cure
Illness is often due to diet, habits, and general lifestyle. Animal naturopaths assess risk factors
and susceptibility to dis-ease and make appropriate recommendations to prevent health
challenges, or to prevent existing health challenges from developing into more serious or
chronic states. The emphasis is on building health rather than treating disease.
What Conditions Do Animal Naturopaths Address?
Animal naturopaths address most all conditions and health challenges. Animal naturopathy can be used alone or in conjunction with other alternative methods or conventional animal care.
What Methods Do Animal Naturopaths Use?
In 420 BC, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said,
"Leave your drugs in the chemists pot if you can cure the patient with food."
Many of the chronic health problems that plague our animal's today are the result of poor dietary and lifestyle choices by their owners. Illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and gastrointestinal problems develop as a consequence of the food we choose for our animals. These diagnoses are simply labels to a basic root problem.... an imbalanced immune system. By changing their diet and encouraging a healthy lifestyle, we can often change or reverse the course of an illness and restore health. Naturopathic professionals are trained in assessing nutritional status and recommending dietary changes and vitamin and mineral supplementation.
Botanical Medicine: Botanical medicine (phytotherapy) has been used for thousands of years. Current scientific studies have validated the use of many plants as medicines. Today, 80% of the world’s population uses plants to treat illness. Plants are used medicinally because they do not have high toxicity, accumulate in the body, or cause addiction or withdrawal symptoms. Herbs are used to enhance immune function; improve digestion; normalize bodily functions; destroy bacteria, viruses, and fungi; soothe irritated tissues; calm nerves; and relax muscles.
Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy the therapeutic use of plant-derived, aromatic essential oils which contain active agents that promote physical and psychological well-being. Aromatherapy offers diverse physical and psychological benefits depending on the essential oil or oil combination used and the method of application. As early as 1500 B.C. the ancient Egyptians used botanical oils, waters and resins for healing and religious ceremonies.
Bach Flower Essences: Bach Flowers refer to the study of the work of Edwin Bach, M.D. and his research into flower remedies. Bach believed that there was an emotional component to most disease processes. His non-invasive approach discovered in the 20th century has many adherents around the world today. Dr. Bach believed that the body would respond with healing by correcting the emotional component of disease. His research led him to codify certain substances that facilitate this process.
Homeopathy: In the 18th century, Dr. Samuel Hahneman discovered that substances that cause specific symptoms in large doses could cure those same symptoms in infinitesimal doses. For example, when a healthy individual is given quinine in large doses, it produces symptoms of malaria. Yet, when very small doses of quinine are given to an individual with malaria, it helps ease the symptoms. This is known as the “Law of Similars”. Homeopathic medicines, known as remedies, are produced from animals, plants, and minerals. The veterinary naturopathic doctors formulate remedies based on an animal’s unique symptoms or characteristics. This means that two animal's who have the same health problem may receive different remedies because their symptoms are different. It requires training and skill to determine the appropriate remedy. When the appropriate remedy (called the similimum) is given, it can produce powerful and effective results. Homeopathy is used to address all forms of acute and chronic illness. Hydrotherapy: Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, is the application of water to initiate cure. It is a safe and painless therapy that can be done at home for all types of injury and illness.
Acupressure: Acupressure is a type of bodywork that involves pressing specific points on the body with the fingers, knuckles and palms to relieve pain, reduce stress and promote general good health. Developed in China some 5,000 years ago, perhaps out of the natural human instinct to hold or rub a place on the body that hurts, acupressure is part of the holistic system of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that also includes acupuncture. (Interestingly, the use of acupressure predates acupuncture by some 2,500 years.
Therapeutic Massage: Massage is the manipulation of the soft tissues of he body. It helps ease stress and muscular tension, relieve pain from injuries and speed healing from certain acute and chronic conditions.
Iridology: One of the tools many animal naturopaths use in determining the health of an animal is iridology. Different parts of the iris form a map for the body’s parts. So, if there is distortion or discoloration in a certain part of the iris, it can be an indication that the corresponding part of the body is not in good health. Iridology is also used to ascertain an animal’s susceptibility to genetic disease, and some forms of iridology work with a model that sees four generations back through the eye. The left eye represents the mother’s side of the family and the right eye the father’s side. Part of the role of naturopathy is to make a person aware of their animal's genetic weakness, so they can live in a way, which maintains their optimum health, rather than triggering disease.