by Bonny Casel, Founder and Director of School of Natural Medicine UK
Over the course of the last few hundred years, medicine has changed significantly from its early roots, emerging with a focus on treating symptoms and diseases with drug protocols and/or surgery, with little reference to the context within which health conditions exist. This occurred in part due to the initial work of 19th century French chemist, Louis Pasteur, who insisted that germs were the cause of disease, and that eradication of these germs would free the body from disease.
However, with continued research, towards the end of his life Pasteur came to realise that the reverse was true and that harmful ‘germs’ were only able to take hold if the body provided a hospitable environment. At this time, he famously said, “It is the soil, not the seed.” However his previous ideas had already taken root and when he presented his new research, which coincidentally confirmed the extensive experiential evidence of traditional medicine, it was rejected by his contemporaries.
‘The Soil, not the Seed’ has been one of the fundamental principles of natural medicine since long before Pasteur came to this conclusion, and a primary goal of a natural physician is to understand the root cause of health conditions, not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally, along with any contributing environmental and lifestyle influences. In short, natural medicine is, by definition, holistic in its approach.
As a practitioner, this fundamentally changes the patient/practitioner relationship. Whereas a medical doctor can spend 20 minutes learning about your current symptoms, ordering tests and prescribing a course of treatment, a holistic natural health practitioner must learn about every facet of a clients current and past history, habits, lifestyle and other contributing factors.
Yet, you will find that many natural health practitioners, although allowing more time to get to know their patients, are taught to approach consultations in ways very similar to medical doctors, including tight time frames and linear questioning, followed by recommendations that focus on symptoms and diagnosed health conditions. But is this approach truly addressing the root cause of dis-ease? Or is it simply the philosophy and practice of modern medicine, followed by swapping out pharmaceuticals for natural treatments?
Whatever forms of treatment that one practices or chooses, Self Healing begins with Self Awareness and Personal Responsibility.
We begin life with our unique body, that has its own combination of strengths and weaknesses. We also begin with our own temperament…tendencies towards introversion or extroversion, optimism or pessimism, high energy activity or relaxed introspection, etc., along with patterns of response and/or reaction to events around us.
As life progresses, our choices, experiences and behaviours interact with these inherent patterns, with fairly reliable outcomes, as our inherent patterns are our primary ‘constitution,’ and reveal our natural pathways towards both health and dis-ease.
Thus Self Healing begins with the view of health as a continuum, and that our current place in this continuum is the natural outcome of the dynamic between our constitution and our life choices and experiences.
Although the vast majority of illnesses are the ‘result’ of dietary and lifestyle choices, alongside emotional and environmental influences, the path of Self Healing engages with the deeper cause in three ways:
So the role of a holistic natural health practitioner, such as a Naturopath or Master Herbalist, begins with educating a client about their constitutional strengths and weaknesses, and then guiding them towards greater self awareness about what they do (and have done), within this context, to create their current health issues, followed by educating them about changes they can make to live in harmony with their unique constitution and reverse the health conditions brought about by incorrect diet and lifestyle, stresses and traumas.
This is a very individual and collaborative process, and not one that will fit into a brief time slot, or be achieved with a blood test, questionnaire or diagnosis. A genuine connection with the client is needed in order to fully explore the many facet of life that, holistically, lead to both health and dis-ease.
A Self Healing client is a student of their own body, mind, emotions and life, and graduates when they learn not only how to apply diet, herbs, lifestyle, supportive therapies, emotional healing, exercise and other modalities in ways that truly support health and wellnesses, but also have the self awareness and knowledge to adjust as needed to life’s ever changing circumstances. The subtitle to my mother’s book, Herbs of Grace is ‘Becoming Independently Healthy,’ which is the true aim of Self Healing, and an enriching and empowering life long journey.
Whether undertaking this journey on your own, or with the support of a holistic natural health practitioner, education is foundational. One of the core Principles of Naturopathy is ‘Doctor as Teacher,’ and as society awakens to the need for sustainability and independent health, a return to patient/practitioner relationships that truly address health and wellness holistically is essential.
A unique facet of professional training with the School of Natural Medicine is the emphasis placed on experiential learning, which is integrated throughout the Online Courses and Immersion Trainings, and very importantly with the Self Healing module.
The Self Healing module is an individually curated and evolutionary opportunity for students to experience all dimensions of the full Naturopathy studies within their own being. Working directly with Farida Sharan over the course of three months, a master practitioner with more than 45 years of experience, students are mentored through the process of remembering their essential self and developing the skills and experience to release choices that harm them, while embodying a lifestyle that supports true healing and wellness.
This process begins with in-depth consultation and discovery sessions, iris assessment, and programme creation to prepare students for their 3 month experience with Self Healing. Farida then guides students through thier individually curated programme that addresses their unique dynamic of organ, system and gland strengths and weaknesses, and provides an opportunity to explore the mental, emotional and lifestyle patterns that contribute to holistic health imbalances.
The Self Healing programme also includes an individualised dietary plan for long-term health and experience with holistic cleansing, integrated with recommendations for three months of herbal formula, essential oils, flower essences and supportive therapies.
Farida Sharan is a Naturopath, Master Herbalist, Master Iridologist and author, who also healed herself of breast cancer naturally. Through the Self Healing module, students not only achieve the foundation for profound self healing, but also have the opportunity to learn fundamental practitioner skills from a true master.