My interest in complementary medicines and eventually my adventure to study Naturopathy began when I was living in Japan. The path leading up to this time wasn’t all too different to my current philosophy on health and wellbeing, however it was in Japan where I was ‘officially’ introduced to a holistic perspective on health.
Some of the underpinnings of holistic health are deeply embedded in Japanese Culture. The interplay of factors (from the nutrition, to meal etiquette) are so embedded into everyday life that living a healthy lifestyle in Japan didn’t feel like an effort.
- Nutrition: an emphasis on eating local, seasonal foods, fermented foods (miso), thermal characteristics of food, quality protein (yes the sashimi) and authentic green tea
- Meal etiquette: enjoying meals with loved ones, humbly accepting food “itadakimasu” and eating until you are 80% full “hari hachi bu”
- Incidental exercise: swapping the car for a bike as my main form of transport
When it comes to herbs, this knowledge is known as Kampo and is deeply rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Over the centuries the Japanese have made it their own unique practice (as they do with most things). These days, it stands firmly as a credible healing method, taught at universities, recognised under the national health insurance system and integrated with conventional medicine.
Kampo shares a similar philosophy to Naturopathy, whereby the aim of health is to bring one’s life back into balance with the laws of nature. Naturopathy’s vis medicatix naturae describes the ‘healing power of nature’, and denotes the body’s innate intelligence to achieve health
The practice of Naturopathy in Australia doesn’t gain as much kudos from the medical profession as Kampo does in Japan. For the most part, it remains under-recognised and disconnected from the mainstream healthcare system. As Naturopathy continues to flourish as a form of complementary medicine, and with the growth of skilful practitioners, it too will find its place in the Australian healthcare system.