With all the patients that come into my office, there is one fundamental question to ask if I am to serve them with what they are looking for. “Why is this happening?” The basic naturopathic principle of Tolle Causam outlines a need to identify the cause of illness in order to find the cure. After several years of practice and several thousand patients, I have identified 3 primary causes of illness.
With scientific study and medical journals focused on describing illness and basic treatment approaches, I have observed a tendency to outline the body by systems and focus treatment on the system in question. Additionally, with the information age we are a part of coupled with genetic research, everything seems to be looking at a genetic origins of disease. The question that seems to be avoided is “why” are we seeing genetic expressions of disease in a naturopathic health model that has observed that the body constantly strives towards health if given the correct environment? This is where I have observed that if you step back and look at the body as a whole (Tolle Totum), you will find that three interwoven causes for illness can explain all disease, with a basic mechanism involving cellular stress and inflammation.
With genetics being kept in mind, you must understand that genes are basically composed of carbohydrate and protein peptide strands formed through complex biochemical processes. The substrates or source of these strands come from the foods we eat, and therefore food quality plays a role in your health. Additionally, in order for genes to express themselves in disease patterns, we know that the gene must be turned on like a light switch in order to do so and the primary causes of genetic alterations is radiation, chemical stress, and lack of substrate (nutritional building blocks) necessary to accomplish its tasks. Therefore in a simplified way this tells us that food (nutrition) or the lack thereof, and stress from various sources cause the illness we see today. Unfortunately, my observation is that these causes of disease are interwoven in their associations with one another.
If you have not followed with me so far, here it is: The 3 basic causes of illness are environmental toxin stress, microbial (parasite, virus, bacterial, or fungal) imbalance, or nutritional deficiency. Any one of these causes can support and lead to susceptibility to one of the other causes, and therefore most people with chronic disease can display associations with all three. This is why an understanding of what the body needs to accomplish to become healthy as a whole should be the focus of any treatment plan, not a focus of looking and treating only system(s) affected.
As an example, we see many people come in our office with previously diagnosed conditions such as adrenal stress, hypothyroidism, estrogen dominance, mercury toxicity, or even parasites or systemic candida. When you look at these diagnoses, only the mercury toxicity or parasites/candida give you a place to start with a restorative health approach. However when you ask “why” and continue to look deeper at the whole body issues, a trained naturopathic physician may find pesticide or heavy metal toxicity leading to immune dysfunction and susceptibility to the parasites/candida. How about the enzyme pathway effects of the heavy metal toxicity causing micronutrient cellular deficiencies, that if not corrected your cure will be outside of reach? Where do you start with therapy? The answer is in going to a trained naturopathic practitioner with a focus on “why,” who provides a support strategy aimed at improving the whole body’s detoxification efficiency coupled with a restorative approach to correct the cellular environment.
Unfortunately there is confusion in choosing a health practitioner, even in the alternative health field. With the misunderstanding of the various pathways of naturopathic training, and the unethical misguiding of non-licensable practitioners attempting to sell you the “cure” in some pill or package form based on applied kinesiology and/or iridology, it is imperative for you to know your source of information and their training. These techniques may be helpful in gaining information, but should not be the basis of diagnosis and treatment.
Health is found in a lifestyle with an individually planned approach based on identifying causative factors and restoration of cellular function and balance. With each practitioner you find, be sure to ask him/her to explain their focus of therapy and how it relates to what they believe is the cause of your illness. From there, any subsequent visit should be to evaluate the effects of therapy in regards to the presumed cause and to plan accordingly to either look for other causes or add restorative factors not previously addressed.