Treat the Whole AKA psychoneuroimmunology and its effects on physiology
Another philosophical principle that guides naturopathic physicians is called Tolle Totem or “Treat the Whole”.
Naturopathic physicians have long been advocates of treating the whole person, including mind, body and spirit. Addressing the emotional, mental, and physical problems simultaneously is often the key to uncovering the true cause of a disease (see my last post about treating the cause!). This is one reason why ND’s have counseling in our scope of practice. We are trained in motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, and sometimes biofeedback to help our patients bridge this gap between mind and body.
New scientific evidence is also showing support for our long-held theory. The branch of science is called psychoneuroimmunology, and it studies the link between the psyche, the nervous system, and the immune system.
Some interesting recent findings: researchers at UCLA found that social rejection was linked to an increase in inflammation in the body! Since inflammation is tied to diseases like depression, asthma, heart disease, and cancer, some are suggesting that rejection or other social stress can be a cause of these illnesses.
Another reason to treat the whole person!
Slavich GM, Way BM, Eisenberger NI, Taylor SE. Neural sensitivity to social rejection is associated with inflammatory responses to social stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 June. 107 (44)