Teaching and Living: Physician, Heal Thyself

Integrating “Physician, heal thyself” into our Naturopathic Colleges

Self-healing deserves the same emphasis in our curriculums as academic learning and clinical practice.  The integration of Physician, Heal Thyself into the education of Naturopathic Physicians will transform our colleges and our profession.  Presently our Naturopathic curriculums, like our culture, overemphasize intellectual learning.  Under the academic pressure, many students compromise their wholesome disciplines and Health in order to succeed in school.

Integrating the principle Physician, Heal Thyself would support our students in studying therapies by actually experiencing them. Students would graduate our colleges Healthier than when they began. Let us move as rapidly as possible to integrate this curriculum, by employing faculty members who are certain of their ability to deliver unmistakably improved Health to willing student-patients.

Teaching Physician, Heal Thyself

Students would work closely with their chosen mentors in improving their personal Health in both the Aesclepian/medical as well as the Hygeian/educational aspects of healing. They would attend classes in Physician, Heal Thyself in which they would report on their challenges, victories, and failures in their personal Healing and receive feedback from their peers.  Students would be graded based on their effort as well as a subjective and objective demonstration of improved Health. Like any other class, it should be possible to fail the segment on self-healing.

The entire purpose of Physician, Heal Thyself is self-healing. Students get to grapple intimately with their own impediments to Healing. How can they heal their digestion, sinusitis, PMS, neck pain or mood swings? What therapies and doctors do they find most useful to them and why?If they are not progressing, why?  Why are well-chosen remedies and therapies not acting as expected? What blocks them from reducing sweets, exercising regularly? Are they actively working with the influence of their attitudes, beliefs and internal dialogue?

For those Naturopathic students and young doctors looking to enhance their understanding of Physician, Heal Thyself, I offer one-week intensive courses in my own practice of self-healing. Learn more here.

Teaching Our Patients to Heal Themselves

The physician-teacher transmits her therapeutic benefit most powerfully through her relationships with her clients. Relationship occurs in ways both visible and invisible.

It is estimated that less than 3% of communication is transmitted verbally, the remaining 97% occurs through facial expression, gesture, posture, tone and yet undiscovered energies.  A parrot, book, tape, or CD can transmit information.  However, none of these is capable of communicating the wisdom, inspiration, and compassion that flow between a teacher and her student in the living present.  The physician-teacher has studied the art of Physician, Heal Thyself and she makes self-healing understandable to her students.

Through teaching, the physician transmits her knowledge and skill, inspires right action and empowers all her other therapies.

We know that the root causes of illness are ignorance and indifference and that these are dispelled by wisdom and love.  The wisdom that heals human beings comes primarily through other human beings who are wise.  How else would it be possible to communicate this wisdom?  Therefore it follows that the greatest source of healing is the company of the wise.  They are living vessels containing healing wisdom.  They are the Medicine. Many spiritual traditions recognize and respect that the deepest levels of healing and wisdom flow from one person to another by direct transmission; no specific actions are required.  We could say this in another way by saying that Health is contagious.

Health is the Harmony with Nature

To achieve health, live in harmony with Natural Law, with Vis Medicatrix Naturae.  Harmonize your actions with the dictates of Nature, cease the actions that undermine Health and embrace the actions that produce Health.  It takes deliberate effort to heal one’s personal actions; to free oneself from alcoholism, perform daily exercise or grow in faith, forgiveness, and patience.

Health is the Wisdom of the Body

To the degree that this healing occurs in any individual the light of Health, The Vis, Hygeia shines more brightly through her. It actually becomes her. Here is the mystical union of the miraculous with the mundane. This is mysticism; a most practical mysticism.

Physician, Heal Thyself (in contrast to receiving medicine or treatment from another) is a deliberate, intentional process. It does not happen by accident.  A physician’s training in self-healing teaches her to allow her body-mind to become an instrument for the Healing of others.  As her passion for Health dominates her consciousness and increasingly governs her choices and actions throughout every day, you could say The Healing Principle inhabits her. When she eats, Vis eats.  When she thinks, Vis thinks. Therefore when she speaks with a client, Vis speaks with the client.

This is not an abstract metaphysical concept to be intellectually believed or not.  This is a matter of ordinary, everyday experience.  Healing occurs when a person allows their actions for being controlled by intelligence and kindness.

All human beings practice intelligence and kindness whether or not they are outwardly religious or “spiritual”.  The uniqueness of the Hygeian tradition in Naturopathic Health Care is that it provides specific training in the use of these healing “weapons”.