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Integrative Natural Medicine Course with Certificate

Target group

Recommended for anyone in healthcare professions: qualified doctors who want education in natural integrative medicine, natural health practitioners, those in health products industry, wellness practitioners, lecturers, physiotherapists, nursing professionals, psychologists, pharmacists, final year students BSc Genetics, Physiology, Psychology, BMedSci


Course options

1. In house group sessions at our premises in Pretoria

3 hours every 2nd Wednesday 10h00-13h00 for 6 sessions. Books, manual and workbook as study material, with assignments to be completed before each interactive session

2. Distance Learning

Books, manual and workbook as study material, with assignments to be submitted via email, with email or telephone (calls made to facilitator by student) interactive sessions for discussions, guidance and questions 30 minutes every 2 weeks x 6, at a mutually agreeable time, for the duration of the course (to be completed within 3 months)


For both options: Students have to submit a final assignment using one chronic lifestyle disease / health challenge as practical example of the natural, integrative model


Course materialIntegrative Natural Medicine Course

  • Manual and Workbook with assignments to complete before each session
  • Text book: Health and Happiness
  • Text book: Stress Solutions
  • Relaxation CD




After completing this course, participants should have a clear idea of:

  • The need for an integrative natural medicine and wellness approach to health enhancing behaviour changes
  • The cornerstones, definitions, aspects, personal responsibility and key systems support of a wellness infused lifestyle
  • The difference between disease management and health / wellness promotion
  • A changed perspective in health promotion:
    • Practical stress solutions: tools, techniques, relaxercises and personal experience
    • Ailments and illnesses as teachers and guides: an introduction to mind-body wellness with practical examples
    • Basic nutrition: food and mood, phyto (plant) nutrients, system support eating, antioxidants, introduction: wellknown, well-researched herbal remedies
    • Heart health
    • Endocrine system health
    • Immune system health
    • Nervous system health
    • Workplace enhancement
    • Work-life balance


Aim and objectives

The main aim is to learn about integrative natural medicine with its important contribution and potential benefits in support of the wellness philosophy which is eclectic, integrative, and trans disciplinary. The body’s natural inclination is after all, towards optimal health and wellbeing. The course would be of value to anybody interested in natural medicine and wellness, but in particular for those in the following fields: all the medical and health consulting disciplines, wellness practitioners, nursing professions, occupational health, human resource and employee assistance, paramedics, psychology, biokinetics, human movement sciences, spiritual & religious work, nutrition, medical aid and medical insurance representatives, child care, government, education, complementary / alternative health arena, social workers and recreational consultants.


The objectives of this course is to provide the practitioner with an introductory awareness of:

a)     theoretical and practical information combined with practical experience of integrative medicine;

b)    the ability to advise patients / clients on the use of integrative medicine;

c)     the ability to apply theoretical knowledge coupled with practical experience to the solution of treating or managing the chronic diseases of lifestyle, as well as guidelines and principles for health promotion and management;

d)    the opportunity to recommend evidenced based integrative natural medicine;

e)     the opportunity to provide information to the ever increasing demand from the public on stress management, natural & integrative medicine and alternative or complementary treatment options. It is in the public interest for all health practitioners to become more knowledgeable regarding vibrational medicine and the use of well researched, evidenced based natural remedies, to provide them with information based on common sense and scientific research. Health practitioners are in the ideal position to guide and advise patients / clients with credible, sound information in the true spirit of Hypocrates’ philosophy: the healer is a teacher. Practitioners have to develop at least some basic practical skills in advising, guiding and prescribing natural, vibrational and integrative medicine options to their appreciative patients / clients. This course will provide you with some of these basic skills and information.


Course Content

The books, manual and workbook as mentioned on pg 1, form the intellectual backdrop to the course, to augment practical, participatory approach and provide reading material for further self study.

  •  Introduction: Various medical schools in America, such as Harvard Medical School, are offering courses in Complementary or Integrative Medicine to expose doctors to the various well-researched, evidence-based complementary options available, as well as to improve the doctor/nurse-patient, wellness consultant-client, or natural health practitioner-client/patient, relationship and encourage a more humane approach to health care where the focus is centred on the patient/client, prevention and gentle healing, while looking beneath the surface for the origins of dis-ease.The most powerful therapeutic intervention is the activation of the patient’s own internal healing response (endorphins, stress / relaxation response, psycho-neuro-endocrine-immune pathways, herbal remedies and nutriceutical) which can be stimulated by a caring and sensitive health care provider that encourages, supports, motivates and teaches the patient/client to engage in healthy patterns of behaviour.
  • Definition and Principles of Natural Integrative Medicine and Wellness
  • Integrative, natural healing based on a healthy lifestyle, a positive mental attitude, practical stress management training, a healthy eating plan and supplementary measures
  • Enhancing key body systems: cardiovascular, immune, endocrine, neurological systems, detoxification (liver function: physiology revised), stress management
  • An outline of nutrition: adapted food pyramid, recipes; Healthy eating for everybody, aiming at principle of Hippocrates: ‘Let your food be your medicine’
    • Food supplements: The basics to use and prescribe – a practical approach
    • Phytonutrients
  • Medicinal herbs – well researched, evidenced based
  • Stress management: Physiology and anatomy revisited
    • Stress, disease and the mind/body connection
    • Practical Stress Management Techniques – examples
  • Conclusion: Bringing it all together: Integration (Integrate (v.) = combine and assimilate into complete functional whole). Examples of chronic lifestyle diseases (or health challenges) and a natural, integrative approach to healing (e.g. heart disease, HIV/Aids, menopause, PMS, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, diabetes, hypercholesterolaemia, hypertension, depression)


Reference and further reading list will be provided


Background information

Health care costs are skyrocketing, the side effects and long term implications of mainstream drugs and surgery are legendary. Integrative medicine is a natural solution to this problem. It focuses on the prevention of disease, the maintenance of balanced wellness and the use of non-toxic, natural therapies to restore health where disease exists. integrative medicine has been practised by peoples of all ages and cultures throughout the history of the world. Its aims is to enhance key body systems (heart and cardiovascular health, detoxification processes, digestion and elimination, immune support and stress management for neurological and endocrine support):

This is done by correcting lifestyle habits based on establishing or restoring healthy eating patterns, practising moderate exercise, the use of vibrational medicine, botanical medicines (herbs) and food supplements, as well as stress management through lifestyle counselling and coaching. Some naturopaths would also make use of homeopathy, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic and/or traditional Chinese and African medicine. It is an ideal healing system to combine with modern mainstream medicine.

Health is ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’, as defined by the World Health Organisation.

The four cornerstones of balanced health and wellness are:

  1. A positive mental attitude.
  2. A healthy lifestyle which includes regular, moderate exercise, sleep & rest, stress management & relaxation, work-life balance, contact with nature and environment, social/community interaction and responsibility
  3. A health promoting diet.
  4. Supplementary measures


Natural medicine is based on 7 principles

  1. ‘First, do no harm.’ (Hippocrates)
  2. Nature has healing powers.
  3. Identify and treat the cause of disease.
  4. Treat the whole person, integrating body, mind, emotions, soul and environment.
  5. The physician is a teacher.
  6. Prevention is the best cure.
  7. Establish balanced health and wellness.

This was proclaimed more than 2000 years ago by the Greek philosopher and physician, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine. The Western form of naturopathy actually originated with his philosophy of healing. Modern medicine would do well to return to its father’s principles!


Ways to implement the principles of natural medicine

  •  Developed through becoming an optimist, becoming aware of what you say, by employing positive and deeply felt affirmations and setting positive goals, practising visualisations to assist you in maintaining a positive attitude and by developing and using your sense of humour every day. It is a lifelong discipline that has to be actively and purposely practised on a daily basis.
  • Established and maintained by regular moderate exercise, quitting smoking, using alcohol in moderation, healthy sleep habits, paying attention to your dreams and practising daily stress management and relaxation techniques.
  • Divided into essential, supplementary measures and those conducive to good health.

Supplementary measures would include nutritional supplements (daily antioxidant-multivitamin combination, essential fatty acids and calcium-magnesium combination), physical care (correct breathing, posture, hygiene, dental care, exercise, bodywork), medication, surgery, herbal medicines, chiropractic, therapeutic massage, acupuncture, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, lymph drainage and any other treatment to support and improve health and wellbeing. The choices are endless. Every single person can find something to suit his/her personality, personal beliefs and health needs.

Examples of essential supplementary measures would include daily nutritional supplements and herbal remedies, physical care, bronchodilators to treat acute asthma or bronchospasm, antibiotics to treat pneumonia and meningitis, insulin for insulin dependant diabetes, surgery for acute appendicitis and many more where appropriately used medicine or surgery is essential in restoring health and wellbeing.

Measures conducive to maintaining and restoring health, would include the use of herbs such as St John’s wort to treat mild to moderate depression, and Echinacea to treat mild infections such as the common cold. These can often be used as a first line of defence to support key body systems or to use as first choice before resorting to more potent medicine or surgery.

Our natural inclination is towards health or balanced wellness (homeostasis). We often only need some natural support and tender loving care to assist us in looking at disease as a teacher that is trying to show us that something is wrong below the surface of our lives. Disease can be compared to the tip of an iceberg: most of the turmoil is happening underneath the physical manifestation of the disease in the mental, emotional or spiritual realm. Herbs and other food supplements can gently help us through the process of healing by providing support. It should not be regarded as a cure all or quick fix, albeit natural! Such an attitude would defeat the whole purpose of natural medicine.

Many herbs and other food supplements have been well researched and their healing abilities well documented. The focus of this course will remain on these.

Health and Happiness is your Birthright!

Dr Arien van der Merwe MBChB FRSPH MISMA MP 0233587 Practice no. 1499602

Medical Doctor specializing in Natural Integrative Medicine, Stress Management and Workplace Wellness

Owner: Medical & Aesthetic Centre at the Weight Control Clinic, Timeless DNA™ Program

Director: Health Stress Management Gauteng (Pty) Ltd

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