How the history of naturopathy influences my work
We can learn a lot from the history of naturopathy
Hello from Bottrop! My name is Farid Zitoun, and I have now been running Naturheilzentrum Bottrop together with my colleague Christian Rüger for over 25 years. I have gained a great deal of experience as a naturopath over the last quarter of a century, which helps me enormously in my daily work at the practice.
One of naturopathy’s greatest strengths also lies in the fact that it is very old and moreover, has proven itself over time. Everyone can therefore take something away from this accumulated experience for themselves – whether it’s for your work as a naturopath or, more generally, for a healthy everyday life.
The history of naturopathy goes back a long way
The history of naturopathy almost begins with mankind’s first written records. There were already detailed writings about medicine 4000 years ago in ancient Babylon, where it was still closely intertwined with magic at that time. I recently read an interesting article about this in ‘Tagesspiegel’: https://www.tagesspiegel.de/wissen/wissenschaftshistoriker-mark-geller-die-lehren-des-babylonischen-medicus/9276548.html
In general, I find it incredibly exciting to delve into the history of naturopathy or medicine as a whole. If you look at it in detail, the distinction of “natural medicine vs. (conventional) medicine” is still a relatively new concept. For millennia, they meant one and the same thing. Admittedly, I do find it questionable whether old naturopathic concepts such as the four-humor theory are still relevant today. However, I continue to believe the view that People should be considered as a whole is an important lesson in naturopathic history. The famous Swiss scholar Paracelsus had already demanded this, even though his medical concepts are now long outdated.
Lessons from naturopathic history – phytomedicine
Another aspect in which the history of naturopathy can teach us a lot is the healing power of plants around us. We have reported on native medicinal plants and their effects, e.g. in the news section here on the website. In my opinion, this knowledge has been under-used for a long time in the recent past. I find it all the more pleasing that phytomedicinal substances are experiencing a scientific renaissance once again.
This is exemplified by the many medicinal plants that have been officially recognized for medical purposes by the European Medicines Agency in recent years. A list of them can be found here, among others: https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/medicines/field_ema_web_categories%253Aname_field/Herbal
I’d like to put that in a larger context. The history of naturopathy has taught us for centuries that the natural world around us is full of healing substances and that Human beings should be the central fulcrum of any treatment.
Unfortunately, little attention is often paid in conventional medicine today with regard to the interaction between the Person at the center and his/her environment. However, in my opinion, it plays a decisive role in the success of the treatment. I admit that at first glance, this may seem a little esoteric. But for those who like such things, I can just recommend reading the article on the topic of the placebo effect in the news section here on the website. In any event, I think it is wrong to put on our blinkers and stubbornly rail against naturopathy simply because it takes into account many things that have been or will be rationalized away in the course of the noticeably increasing deHumanization of the healthcare system.
The history of naturopathy puts People at the center
No matter what everyone specifically thinks of naturopathy, I believe it is important to delve into its history. On the one hand, because it reminds us of how the concepts of modern medicine have actually developed. On the other hand, however, also because we can still learn lessons from it. Some of them, such as the phytomedicinal substances, have also been used in conventional medicine for some time and are still gaining in importance today. Other teachings go beyond that and rely on a different view of Human beings or on a different view of medicine as a whole.
Personally, I see my work entirely in the tradition of this holistic view of People. And I continue this tradition because it is ultimately an indispensable part of modern medicine. Ultimately, this accumulated knowledge and experience will not only benefit us as practitioners – whether that’s as doctors or naturopaths – but, above all, the patients.
What do you think of this? I would be happy to talk to you about the history of naturopathy. Write to me about your Personal attitude and experiences in the comments section, or just visit me at Bottrop’s naturopathic practice. I look forward to hearing from you one way or another.