Holistic Medicine isn’t Just About the Whole Individual

It’s about the whole family, the whole community, and the whole world. It’s a relationship we have to ourselves, our friend, and our planet. When we understand this, natural healing becomes something that we are constantly doing in our everyday lives. It impacts and informs our decisions on what we purchase, how we prepare our foods, how we move, how and when we sleep and relax, and how we think and relate. Within our family

The Relationship Between Ourselves, Our Friend, and Our Planet

It’s about the whole family, the whole community, and the whole world. It’s a relationship we have to ourselves, our friend, and our planet. When we understand this, natural healing becomes something that we are constantly doing in our everyday lives. It impacts and informs our decisions on what we purchase, how we prepare our foods, how we move, how and when we sleep and relax, and how we think and relate. Within our family units natural healing becomes something that we teach our children as they are growing up. Children growing up in healthy families naturally learn how to take care of their bodies, how to be sick in a healthy way, not being scared of a fever, a burn, or a cut; they aren’t scared of bugs and don’t need antibacterial hand sanitizer every 15 minutes.

Case Study

I recently had a patient, a seven-year-old little boy, who came into the clinic with his mother. The experience truly demonstrated the power of teaching our children the power of natural medicine, and also that many of the things we do as treatments can be fun for children – enhancing the learning experience.

Little “R” presented with an itchy, full body rash, which he’d had for about 16 hours. He’d hardly slept the night before and was visibly uncomfortable. He hadn’t had a recent respiratory infection, nor any medications which could account for the rash. He did not have a fever, an EENT exam was typical for a healthy child his age, with only slight injection on the tympanic membrane of one ear, and slight mucus production of the nasal passages. My attending and I both diagnosed him with a viral exanthem (rash), something very normal and not worrisome in most children.

Viral Exanthem and Remedial Prescription

The rash was red, itchy, maculopapular in nature (being comprised of tiny bumps on a flat red base), better with him squirming around, and was reported to have been less itchy in a warm bath earlier that morning. We decided to give him a homeopathic prescription for Rhus Tox 12c repeated every few hours, along with directions for an oatmeal bath.

The rash cleared up within an hour after taking the remedy, and he loved the bath. He continued taking the remedy until the tube was gone – because he loved taking the little sweet pills. This wouldn’t normally be advocated, however, it turned out to be a very meaningful experience for him. When “R” returned 6 weeks later with a slight fever and cough, his mother informed us that he had said, “if I’m not going to go to school anyway, can we go to the clinic?” For his fever and cough, we prescribed and herbal glycerite and twice daily constitutional hydrotherapy without sine wave. He loved all this too, and we’re pretty sure that the stage has been set for him to seek natural therapies for future illnesses, because they work, and are enjoyable to him.


Node Smith, associate editor for NDNR, is a fifth year naturopathic medical student at NUNM, where he has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine amongst the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend campout where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Three years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision. 

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