Naturopathic Medicine, Homeopathic Medicine, Integrative Health
ONE MEDICINE MODEL
Health is often spoken of as the result of a balance of forces that must be maintained or restored throughout life. In 1999, I realized that the same characteristics of living organisms that biologists use to define life, could be used to understand health and healing. I also realized that they exist in a complex system in which each characteristic impacts and influences all of the others, with meta-properties arising from the system itself. I have named it the One Medicine Model since it provides a unifying and easily understood theoretical basis for all approaches to medicine, and it applies to all aspects of human health—physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, social and ecological.
Each of us has some of these characteristics that are our strengths and some that are weaker. By identifying these and focusing on building up our weak areas while
appreciating our strengths we can create a workable and effective health plan that improves our wellbeing now, while paying dividends in the future.
The key characteristics of living organisms as described in the One Medicine Model are as follows:
This diagram is a symbolic representation of the interactive elements of the One Medicine Model. Read below to learn about each one.
Intelligence has to do with genetic coding and the presence or absence of specific genes that impact health (genetics), as well as the current state of activation those genes as determined by such things as lifestyle habits, external stress, and nutrient availability (epigenetics). By understanding how genes are expressing we can support health in specific ways by turning off “bad genes” and turning on “good genes”.
Structure permits structure and occurs on the most minute levels inside our cells as well as larger levels in our organs and whole body, as well as in society and nature. We need the diverse building blocks required to create a healthy body and they must be arranged in life-giving patterns to be able to fulfill their functions.
Consumption involves what we ingest on every level- food, water, air and light on the physical level, but also emotional energy, words and ideas, spiritual teachings and wisdom among other things. We may consume things that support health and wellbeing or that detract from our health and quality of experience in the world. Positive input contributes toward positive epigenetics (see Information section).
Growth involves change and differentiation as our cells divide and specialize on the physical level, and we learn emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, and strive to find our particular gift or passion in life. When growth is restricted, we become stunted, tangled and repressed. Growth is a natural expression of life that can sometimes be painful but ultimately leads to greater joy and freedom.
Communication in essence has to do expression – from the expression of a thyroid cell making thyroid hormone and sending it out through the blood circulation to tell other cells to increase the body’s metabolic rate, to the verbal expression of a child in pain or fear calling for help and safety. In this element we look at the flow of information throughout the system and whether or not it is being expressed freely.
Movement has to do with flow both within the organism (like blood flow) and within the environment (such as taking a walk in the woods). Lack of flow results in stagnation and the buildup of metabolic toxins that result in pain, inflammation and disease. Sometimes this type of stagnation makes it difficult for nutrients to get to their desired location because the fluid and cells are cluttered up with metabolic waste products (toxins).
Elimination involves letting go of what we no longer need. Whether that is our cells releasing waste products, our bodies eliminating waste, or letting go of a job, or relationship that is destructive. If elimination is blocked in some way, we become poisoned by the buildup, but when the buildup is released, we have space to open up to things that nourish and uplift us.