I’ve had the life-long habit of taking steps two at a time. I do it without even thinking. And I tend to walk fast as well; I’m so focused on my destination that I unconsciously lengthen my stride to eat up the intervening distance. These traits are not without their hazards. In trying my best to appear professional by upgrading my normal rustic attire, I have, more times than I care to admit, found myself mid-stride coming up short and having to pause momentarily to assess the situation (dang those straight skirts!) before continuing up the steps – hopefully in a more dignified manner.
My midwife friend tells me that expectant ladies purposely take steps two at a time in order to open the pelvis. You’re welcome for that random little tip – feel free to pass it on.
In my observations in life, I see people doing this all the time, this skipping steps. But more often than not, they are skipping not 1 or 2; they are skipping 3 or 4 or even 5 steps at a time – and we all know the face-planting disaster that can lead to. You may be wondering what on earth I am talking about when I say taking the steps 3, 4, even 5 at a time - and how is that even possible! Bear with me.
In naturopathic medicine, we have something called 'The Therapeutic Order’. Here is one pictorial that is in circulation amongst our naturopathic community:
“The therapeutic order is a natural hierarchy of therapeutic intervention, based on or dictated by observations of the nature of the healing process, from ancient times through the present. It is a natural ordering of the modalities of naturopathic medicine and their application. The concept is somewhat plastic in that one must evaluate the unique needs, and even the unique healing requirements, of the specific patient or situation, but in general the nature of healing dictates a general approach to treatment.” [61. Hippocrates. The genuine works of Hippocrates. Adams F, trans. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1939. 62. Zeff J, Snyder P. Course syllabus: NM51 71, Naturopathic clinical theory. Seattle: Bastyr University, 1997-2005.]
Zeff J., Snider P., Myers S. P. A Hierarchy of Healing: The Therapeutic Order. ResearchGate. December 2005. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/43328689_A_Hierarchy_of_Healing_The_Therapeutic_Order. Accessed April 22, 2019.
Now then, getting back to steps. My friend Christie Fleetwood, ND, RPh, likes to present The Therapeutic Order to her patients using stair steps. I liked that idea, a lot. So I made my own version:
The first step is 1. When you're out of sorts, where does your healing journey usually begin? Do you start at the bottom? Have you been skipping steps without thinking, as most of us do or have done?
Dr. Fleetwood's original stair steps version of The Therapeutic Order adds another dimension of thought. Here is what she hands to her new patients:
When we look at Dr. Fleetwood's version, we can see clearly that there are two ways of approaching treatment of disease…could there be two ways of thinking about disease - and health? What if there were basically two kinds of medicine...