“Application of Naturopathic Principles in My Life”–More than just a writing assignment








“Application of Naturopathic Principles in My Life”

Jillian Shannon

Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine











            “The best physician in us is love.”– Paracelsus / Lindlahr

From as early as I can remember, I didn’t like the idea of “medicine”. It simply felt off when I was recommended to take it. I felt pushed, forced, almost bribed. Why was that? Was it because of this calling on my life to pursue natural medicine and challenge myself to a much higher calling than I ever imagined possible? Did it feel wrong taking medicine because as a child you know alcohol is in there? Was it because I never liked how it made me feel, or was it indeed because I knew deep down I was covering up a symptom? I believe it was a bit of all the above. As a little girl I recall being a highly spiritual being. I remember dreaming much more than my peers, siblings, cousins, or anyone else my age. My dreams were often real and forth telling. I remember praying early on and God answering me questions through various people that would soon cross my path or though a scripture reading, prophetic word from a mentor or a myriad of other vehicles used to get his word and truth to me.  I say all this because it precisely correlates with the ability to heal others. The gift of healing others is a rare gem. My first day of NTMD I recall the words so vividly: “All physicians are doctors but not all doctors are physicians. The mere fact that I have the ability to be a part of ‘physicanhood’ is a much higher calling than I have anything to do with. Yes, I, Jillian decided to pursue this passion yet I cannot for one moment neglect the desire, curiosity, and passion for learning more about healing through nature, partnering with my future patience to get their mind, body, and spirit back on track. Because of this desire birthed in me that I have been pursing since my earliest days of childhood, I’m committing to utilizing the passion and desire to fulfill my duties and responsibilities as a Naturopathic Physician. I am committed to paring with my patience and putting their utmost needs above my own to get them well so they can have the opportunity of obtaining optimal health.

            Most people are looking for safe intuitions, not healthy ones, and safe insight, not healthy insights, because they usually want a safe passage in the future, into the unknown. You may be tempted to dismiss a disturbing image that you receive or one that is not congruent with your own desires or those of the person you are reading, (Myss, 1996, pg. 37).” As a healer you have the opportunity to put your intuition and discernment into practice. I love this quote by PhD Caroline Myss  that just depicted what we as human beings have the choice to do when we encounter another person. This takes me to the first principal of naturopathic medicine: First Do No Harm – (primun non nocere). By not ignoring safe intuitions and going with the truth of what I’m gathering from my patient, I will not only be treating them as a whole person but also ensuring I’m avoiding any potential harm. If I were do to a patient intake and treat only the symptom he/she came in with, how much more harm would I actually be doing? When patients come to a physician it’s because they’ve already depicted and evaluated that something is inherently wrong or off kilter. This is then my opportunity to sense the truth and/or reality of their condition and treat them with accuracy and avoid any harm and bring them to wellness. By interpreting my intuitions and seeing them objectively, my patients will be in a position to heal. I would be doing neither my patients, nor myself any favors by telling them merely want they want to hear.       

I next want to delve into the second law of Naturopathic medicine, which really has allowed me to fall in love with the practice over and over again: The Healing Power of Nature – (vis medicatrix naturae).  “ The healing power of nature is the inherent self- organizing and healing process of living systems which establishes, maintains and restores health. Naturopathic medicine recognizes this healing process to be ordered and intelligent. It is the naturopathic physician’s role to support by identifying and removing the obstacles to health and recovery, and by supporting the creation of a health internal and external environment.  Zeff, Snider: AANP, 1989).” Sir William Osler again brings me back to the quote: “The organ will weep tears that the eye cannot shed.” This quote has provoked so much emotion and passion for me on a personal level. I begin thinking about all the various aches, pains, joys, euphoria’s, which I’ve felt physically, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually. I know the work that I’ve put in on each of those levels to become who I am today and still becoming that person of optimal balance and success. I then think about all the people that I’ve encountered throughout my life thus far. I’ve listened to thousands of stories full of pain, agony, heartache and misfortune. Sadly, those stories are the ones that get shared more than the heart’s joys. People are seeking healing every minute and want to share that with a trusted soul who gives them direction and hope. ‘Tears the organs will week that eyes cannot’? That is so jammed packed with truth and the reality of every patient and better yet every person that has ever had breath. My desire is to bring healing to those aspects of the body that they may weep no more but experience much relief and stability for maximal intended use and to do so with all of the various cures nature has presented us with i.e., hydrotherapy, manipulation, herbalism, homeopathy, to name a few.

One of the primary reasons I have grown to love and respect the laws of naturopathic medicine is because of how they flow and each tie in with one another so brilliantly. The third law: Discover and treat the cause– (tolle causam), is another foundation of naturopathic medicine. I have come to the realization in my short journey thus far at medical school, that this principal alone differentiates us from the rest of western medicine approaches: Is the condition primarily a bio-mechanical, metabolic or

Psychosomatic condition? I am committed to listening to my patient, being intuitive to their voice and body language and understanding that one complaint or ailment is not independent but merely a reaction of something else going in within the mind or body that will need to be tapped into in order for healing to take place. I will do my part in accurately diagnosing the root cause and commit to not simply treating an ache or pain.


         I touched on Principal number four: Treat the Whole Person – (tolle totum), when I addressed Principal number one: First Do No Harm.  I will expound a bit more. “Disease is caused by a deviation from a natural lifestyle leading to abnormal bio-mechanical function. Increase body and self-awareness and integration of the body, mind, and spirit.”  I will be grounded by, cherish and implement The Therapeutic Goals of Physical Medicine: Stimulate circulation, Stimulate healing, Stimulate vitality and lastly: Stimulate the vis medicatrix naturae in order to restore each and every patient to their fullest level of healing.

         The Physician as Teacher – (docere), again brings me to absolute humility when I take the time to understand and absorb exactly what this means. I anticipate the opportunity of patience, reason, intelligence, understanding, and every other attribute that goes along with teaching. For me personally this is the Naturopathic Principal that could be the most challenging. We live in a culture that wants to get rich quick, lose weight overnight, stay young forever, as we magically never acquire wrinkles or gray hair and pop a pill to be well and read a proverb every year and be close to their creator. I look at this opportunity of Physician as Teacher as something that takes much time, consideration, listening, and growth. In the book: “Anatomy of the Spirt”, there is a principle that states: “You alone can help yourself heal”. It goes on to say: “Energy Medicine teaches ‘I am responsible for the creation of my health. I therefore participated, at some level, in the creation of my illness. I can participate in the healing of this illness by healing myself which means simultaneously healing my emotional, psychological and physical and spiritual being” (Myss, 1996; pg. 47).  I desire for my patients to obtain this approach yet I also have the strong realization that this will be more difficult for some versus others. I am committed to listening, guiding, and being patient yet truthful while my future patients are realizing what it will take on their part as well to be wholly healed.

         Prevention is the best “cure” – (praevenire), is the final principle of naturopathic medicine. This too is a huge part of what will set me apart from other doctors that are practicing medicine. I believe full heartedly that God designed us to be creatures of wisdom, discipline, and respect. When we respect and love ourselves, then we are able to respect and love others. Prevention is a huge part of this. If we can stop something before it starts, we all know it’s much easier to ‘clean up’, so to speak.

That is not just in regards to medicine but across the board. If we can be knowledgeable and prevent disaster why not do it? After all, knowledge is power then determining what you do with what you know. To tie in with The Physician as Teacher, I want to reinforce to anyone I encounter that we are not just a body but we are souls/spiritual beings trapped in a body for a short time. That’s not exactly an easy concept to grasp, especially for many people living in our culture that is driven by proof and scientific findings and a horrendous magnitude of sex appeal encamped around us.

Evidence of us being made in the image of God isn’t exactly a concrete concept. However, once this truth becomes a part of one’s conscious mind, he/she can never live an ordinary life again. This is such a significant factor in prevention being the most optimal medicine. When we realize how important we are, how much we truly matter on an individual basis and know in our heart of hearts that God has a specific significant role for each and everyone of our lives, then are we able to care enough to prevent bodily harm, mental purity, and spiritual and psychological peace.

         I want to close with my commitment to Naturopathic medicine on a personal level. My ability and willingness to lead by example is the only thing that will make me a successful physician. I believe that wholeheartedly. If my patients walk into my clinic and leave with a boatload of advice that cannot even be followed by the one it was given by, then what motivation is that to my patient to implement change? I am a firm believer in actions over words every time. I am committed to consistently pursing balance in all areas of my life so that I am better able to be in a position to bring healing to my patients.          I realize that without being strong, wise, committed, disciplined, and obtaining strong values personally, that I’m in jeopardy of dishonoring the rules of naturopathic medicine and I would in turn be causing harm.




My pledge:

         I am committed first and foremost to God my creator the ultimate source of all strength and giver and taker of every breath that I breathe. I’m committed to listening to his voice, pursing his calling, and fulfilling the roles that he puts before me. I am committed to listening to my body and pushing it to new limits so that I can maintain physical strength and rejuvenation. I am committed to my mind and giving it stimulation not only for myself to grow mentally and be challenged but to continue learning new practices for my patience so that they can have maximal benefits when they come to see me. I want my patients to know that their healing and well-being is number one. If there are newer more advanced ways of treatment, I want to have that available to deliver to my patients. I refuse to be stagnant with my mind but to push myself to higher levels by continuing to surround myself with mentors and other doctors that can teach me so I can then enlighten my realm of influence. Lastly, I commit to my word. I want anyone who comes in contact with me to feel trusted and respected. I commit to being where I say I’m going to be and when I say I’m going to be there. I commit to following through with anything that has my name attached so that I will be a physician of not only knowledge but of respect, kindness and trust.

            “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness, concerning all acts of initiation and creation. There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision.” –Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe










One thought on ““Application of Naturopathic Principles in My Life”–More than just a writing assignment

  1. Pingback: Peter Lipson And Naturopathic Medicine Week. | Alternative Holistic Health Answers

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