Utilizing the Meaning Response: Naturopathy as Meaning-Based Medicine in the Western Cultural Context

Kayla Marie Ruschkowski


The 'placebo effect' as identified in the Western cultural context is more accurately identified as the 'meaning response.' The meaning response is the unique, human ability to heal through participation in a culturally meaningful healing process. The meaning response makes physiological impacts in the process of meaningful healing, even in cases when the healing paradigm involves biological specificity. Therefore, initiating a meaning response within all healing systems is valuable, even in the Western context, where scientific validation is privileged over meaning-based medicine. In the Western context, meaning-based medicine must appeal to cultural values involving scientific validity and contemporary health concerns. This essay will discuss naturopathy as a culturally relevant, meaning-based medical paradigm within Western culture.


Healing; meaning-based medicine; placebo effect; naturopathy

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