What is Naturopathy TEN?
The Traditional European Naturopathy (TEN) is a couple thousand years old medical system, which has only been replaced by today’s model of academic medicine in the 19th century. Just like in other cultures (think of the Traditional Chinese or the Ayurvedic medicine), the western tradition also has a knowledge system with a wealth of experience and therapeutic concepts, that have developed in the past 2500+ years. TEN is so much more than just a smorgasbord of diagnostic and therapeutic methods. It is a fascinating and independent art of healing in accordance with the laws and means of nature. Many of its therapies are still known in today’s world (like Kneipp-appliances), but they are very often practised independently of each other, and with no overall integration.
But one of the strengths of the TEN-tradition is its holistic view (see further below) that is gathering the different aspects under one roof: medicine, physics, chemistry, humoral model, as well as philosophy and medical plants.
A few of the essential elements, diagnostic and therapeutic methods of TEN include (the list is by no means complete):
- Humoral model (model of the 4 fluids)
- Temperamental model
- Health, disease and healing principles
- Naturopathic examination methods (such as for example iris, thung, pulse or facial diagnostic)
- Inclusion of medical results
- Diverting and purging methods (like Baunscheidtieren, eals, cupping, packing)
- Manual therapies (cl. massage, reflexology, visceral massages, NST etc.)
The holistic approach
During my training to become a naturopath TEN, I came accross a pretty good analogy which kind of graphically shows the difference between the holistic approach in TEN and the current point of view of the academic medicine. The Swiss artist, comedian and actor Ursus Wehrli has been working on his project “tidy up art” for years now. This kind of looks like this:
Kandinsky‘s “Red Spot II”
and the tidy up version: :
Kandinsky’s original offers a view on the complete piece of art. It shows the artist’s idea of a “symphonic composition” (with superior and subordinated forms).
Urs Wehrli tidies up the masterpiece in an analytical and orderly fashion. With this, one can exactly see how many red, orange, green, curvy, circle and linear elements the picture contains. But the painting looses its expression and its power. In fact, it is now beyond any way of recognizing the artist’s idea.
To look at and capture humans as a holistic form of life (a holistic masterpiece) has forever been a concern of naturopathy. This holistic approach has enabled us to capture humans in a complete way. The sum is more than just adding up the parts holds very true here as well. By concentrating on lab parameters, symptoms or the name of a disease (which unfortunately is very common in academic medicine), is in itself limiting the view – the masterpiece of a “human being” is no longer visible.
Naturopathy aims to frame the picture as a whole – even at the risk of loosing a few analytical details by keeping them fuzzy. But rather it knows about the pathology of the situation and aims to influence it. The strength of TEN is this fuzzyness – details move to the background – the whole picture is more important.
The process of a consultation
In a detailed discussion (anamnesis), the patient explains the reason for his visit, the symptoms and their history. Further questions by the therapist, as well as situative, diagnostic methods (like humoral analysis, iris or thung diagnosis) are completing the picture. The therapist needs to know about essential body functions (like digestion), lifestyle, nutrition, sleep, emotional aspects, current medication, past diseases in the family, vacinations, surgeries and previous therapies. If necessary, additional infos and parameters are also considered, such as blood analysis, kinesiological tests, bioresonance or existing medical records.
On the basis of this holistic approach, an individual therapeutic concept is being developed, which aims to reduce the patient’s issues as well as to stabilize his constitutional situation. Depending on each case, the concept may include manual or physical therapies, proposals in changing the life-style, nutritional proposal, healing-plant-mixtures or complementary diets (minerals, vitamins, enzymes, amino-acids etc.).
Treatments: how many/how often
First appointement usually takes up between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on the situation and the chosen therapy. Follow-up meetings will take 30 to 60 minutes (depending on the therapy). Manual therapies initially ask for more frequent appointments (up to 3x per week); other therapies may require 1 – 4x appointments per month.