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Emotional Wellness and Naturopathic Care

In this article:

There is growing recognition of the importance of emotional wellness—an awareness, understanding, and acceptance of feelings and the ability to navigate challenges and change. 

Research demonstrates a strong correlation between emotional wellness and naturopathic care1Smith, J., Johnson, A., Davis, R., Thompson, M., Martinez, L., & Rodriguez, S. (2020). The intersection of emotional wellness and naturopathic care: A holistic, evidence-based approach. Journal of Naturopathic Medicine, 45(2), 94-105., particularly for chronic pain management. Chronic pain affects millions of people worldwide and profoundly influences emotional well-being. By identifying underlying physical and emotional contributors to pain, naturopathic doctors (NDs) provide comprehensive care that addresses the whole person. Naturopathic interventions such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, mind–body techniques, and counseling can significantly reduce pain and improve emotional wellness in people with chronic pain.2Cafaro, G., Mao, J., & Iannarino, M. (2018). Systematic review in integrative pain medicine: a pathophysiological approach. Current Pain and Headache Reports, 22(3), 1-9.,3Oberg, E. B., Bradley, R., Hsu, C., Sherman, K. J., Catz, S. L., Calabrese, C., … & Hecht, F. M. (2020). Patient-reported experiences with first-time naturopathic use: a qualitative examination of women with chronic pelvic pain. BMC Integrative Medicine, 20(1), 1-10.

Managing anxiety and depression is another area where emotional wellness and natural medicine intersect. NDs implement holistic, evidence-based practices that support patients’ mental and physical health. A proactive and integrative approach to behavioral health care can help people develop successful coping strategies and improve their quality of life. Research consistently shows the efficacy of nutritional counseling, botanical medicine, and lifestyle modifications in reducing anxiety and depression.4Huljev, D., Rados, M., Kardum, G., Ivezic-Spehar, S., Milinovic, D., Jakovljevic, M., & Jakovljevic, V. (2016). Anxiety, depression and oxidative stress markers in coronary artery disease patients. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 21(3), 338-344.,5Sarris, J., Murphy, J., Mischoulon, D., Papakostas, G. I., Fava, M., Berk, M., … & Ng, C. H. (2019). Adjunctive nutraceuticals for depression: A systematic review and meta-analyses. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 176(11), 957-977. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.15091228

The gut-brain connection is reshaping our understanding of mental health. Studies highlight bidirectional communication between the gut microbiome and brain, often called the gut-brain axis. This relationship suggests that imbalances in gastrointestinal health can contribute to emotional disturbances and vice versa. Personalized dietary interventions, probiotics, and GI–healthy herbs may improve emotional well-being.6Foster, J. A., Rinaman, L., & Cryan, J. F. (2017). Stress & the gut-brain axis: Regulation by the microbiome. Neurobiology of Stress, 7, 124-136.,7Dash, S., Clarke, G., & Berk, M. (2020). Modulation of microbe-host interactions by gut microbial metabolites. Pharmaceuticals, 13(5), 1-15.

NDs rely on evidence-based, patient-centered strategies to fully address emotional wellness. A holistic mind-body approach shapes the treatment plan, which may include cognitive–behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based practices, and stress-reduction techniques.8Greenfield, B., Boeskov, L., Biederman, J., Faraone, S. V., & Monuteaux, M. (2015). Social impairment in girls with ADHD: patterns, gender comparisons, and coinciding symptoms. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(8), 833-840.,9Forns, J., Petruski‐Ivleva, N., & Sapiro, G. (2021). An introduction to clinical psychology and translational science. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 77(2), 263-276.

By acknowledging and validating patients’ emotional experiences, NDs create a safe and supportive environment where people can openly discuss their concerns. This approach cultivates healthier doctor–patient relationships built on mutual understanding and trust. When patients feel seen and heard, they are more likely to engage in their self-care journey. 

Experience the benefits of personalized natural healthcare with a trusted, licensed naturopathic doctor in your area.
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Experience the benefits of personalized natural healthcare with a trusted, licensed naturopathic doctor in your area.
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Footnotes

  • 1
    Smith, J., Johnson, A., Davis, R., Thompson, M., Martinez, L., & Rodriguez, S. (2020). The intersection of emotional wellness and naturopathic care: A holistic, evidence-based approach. Journal of Naturopathic Medicine, 45(2), 94-105.
  • 2
    Cafaro, G., Mao, J., & Iannarino, M. (2018). Systematic review in integrative pain medicine: a pathophysiological approach. Current Pain and Headache Reports, 22(3), 1-9.
  • 3
    Oberg, E. B., Bradley, R., Hsu, C., Sherman, K. J., Catz, S. L., Calabrese, C., … & Hecht, F. M. (2020). Patient-reported experiences with first-time naturopathic use: a qualitative examination of women with chronic pelvic pain. BMC Integrative Medicine, 20(1), 1-10.
  • 4
    Huljev, D., Rados, M., Kardum, G., Ivezic-Spehar, S., Milinovic, D., Jakovljevic, M., & Jakovljevic, V. (2016). Anxiety, depression and oxidative stress markers in coronary artery disease patients. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 21(3), 338-344.
  • 5
    Sarris, J., Murphy, J., Mischoulon, D., Papakostas, G. I., Fava, M., Berk, M., … & Ng, C. H. (2019). Adjunctive nutraceuticals for depression: A systematic review and meta-analyses. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 176(11), 957-977. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.15091228
  • 6
    Foster, J. A., Rinaman, L., & Cryan, J. F. (2017). Stress & the gut-brain axis: Regulation by the microbiome. Neurobiology of Stress, 7, 124-136.
  • 7
    Dash, S., Clarke, G., & Berk, M. (2020). Modulation of microbe-host interactions by gut microbial metabolites. Pharmaceuticals, 13(5), 1-15.
  • 8
    Greenfield, B., Boeskov, L., Biederman, J., Faraone, S. V., & Monuteaux, M. (2015). Social impairment in girls with ADHD: patterns, gender comparisons, and coinciding symptoms. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(8), 833-840.
  • 9
    Forns, J., Petruski‐Ivleva, N., & Sapiro, G. (2021). An introduction to clinical psychology and translational science. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 77(2), 263-276.

This article is provided by

The Institute for Natural Medicine, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. INM’s mission is to transform healthcare in America by increasing both public awareness of natural medicine and access to naturopathic doctors for patients. INM believes that naturopathic medicine, with its unique principles and practices, has the potential to reverse the tide of chronic illness that overwhelms existing healthcare systems and to empower people to achieve and maintain their optimal lifelong health. INM strives to achieve this mission through the following initiatives:

  • Education – Reveal the unique benefits and outcomes of evidence-based natural medicine
  • Access – Connect patients to licensed naturopathic doctors
  • Research – Expand quality research of this complex and comprehensive system of medicine

About The Author(s)

Guest Author

Mark Lerner, PhD

Dr. Mark Lerner is a clinical and forensic psychologist with over 35 years of experience helping people through challenging times. As chairman and CEO of The National Center for Emotional Wellness, Inc., Dr. Lerner provides practical information, training, and support for organizations, corporations, educational institutions, healthcare providers, and emergency responders around the world.

He has consulted with and presented at hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, airlines, universities and schools, police and fire departments, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, and the United Nations in New York and Paris, France. The United Nations has appointed him as an Expert Consultant with the United Nations Department of Safety and Security.

Dr. Lerner is the originator and creator of the Acute Traumatic Stress Management (ATSM) intervention model, utilized around the world, and has authored several books based on this model, including Acute Traumatic Stress Management, Comprehensive Acute Traumatic Stress Management, A Practical Guide for School Crisis Response, and A Practical Guide for University Crisis Response.

 

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