What is Naturopathic Vitalism?
Updated: Jun 27, 2019
Dr. Hollie Levine, MSW, ND
Our bodies are governed by a set of laws that are evident at the most minute levels of our anatomy and physiology. Health is a natural state of the body. When we experience physical symptoms this is the body’s response to a disturbance in its function and represent an effort to restore balance. If this process is suppressed or if the body’s vitality is too weak, the symptoms become chronic or another set of symptoms develops. Therefore the goal of Naturopathic vitalism is to support the whole body’s movement, in accord with its own laws, towards healing.
Pain and inflammation, coughing, diarrhea, and itchy skin are all examples of attempts by the body to expel something (ie. toxin, bacteria, virus, or even emotional stress) that is interfering with its ability to function in a healthy manner. A vitalistic approach supports the body to complete this process, and to restore well being. This is distinctly different from the targeted process of treating a specific disease, typically with pharmaceuticals, surgery, or other disease-specific interventions.
What does a vitalistic healing process look like? It utilizes treatments that remove any obstacles to the healing trajectory; and then stimulates and supports the body’s vital energy to complete the task. This includes the following:
identifying foods that cause inflammation and those that support healing;
using saunas and other hydrotherapy modalities to get rid of toxins, increase blood supply to the organs, and amplify immune response.
techniques like NAET that increase the body’s ability to absorb and utilize essential nutrients;
energy medicines that help release physical and emotional stress from the body such as homeopathy, flower essences
bodywork that helps integrate the physical and emotioanl aspects of healing
herbs and nutriceuticals to help our passage through difficult symptoms and to increase the body’s vitality in making these transits.
And finally it means recognizing that the body, mind, and spirit function as one, and using vitalistic treatment supports healing throughout the whole being.