Naturopathic medicine is an individualized and comprehensive approach to improving health and treating illness, integrating modern scientific knowledge with traditional healing wisdom. Utilizing natural treatments, naturopathic doctors (NDs) support and stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself. The primary goal of Naturopathic medicine is to address the cause of disease, rather than treat or suppress symptoms. The patient is seen as a whole person, and the ND takes the physical, mental and emotional dimensions into account when diagnosing and developing a treatment plan.
Naturopathic doctors work cooperatively with other health care professionals to provide the patient with a truly integrative form of health care. Naturopathic doctors are trained to refer patients to other health care professionals for diagnosis and treatment when appropriate.
The training of a Naturopathic Doctor consists of more than 4,500 hours of classroom training and supervised clinical experience. Instruction includes four years in areas of general medical sciences, diagnosis, naturopathic principles and therapeutics.
Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
The following principles outline the naturopathic approach to health and healing:
First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)Naturopathic doctors choose diagnostic procedures and therapies that are safe and effective, to diagnose illness and treat disease. Naturopathic doctors aim to reduce the risk of harmful side effects.
The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae) Naturopathic doctors work to restore and support the powerful and inherent healing ability of the human body. Naturopathic doctors identify and remove obstacles to recovery, better allowing the body to heal itself.
Identify and Treat the Cause (Tolle Causam) Naturopathic doctors aim to determine and treat the underlying cause of disease rather than simply managing or suppressing the symptoms.
Treat the Whole Person Naturopathic doctors take into account the patient’s physical symptoms, as well as the mental-emotional, genetic, environmental, and social aspects of their health. Using this information, naturopathic doctors treat the entire person, rather than specific organ systems.
Doctor as Teacher (Docere) Naturopathic doctors put a strong effort towards educating their patients, giving them an opportunity to participate in their own health. Naturopathic doctors encourage a strong doctor-patient relationship.
Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Naturopathic doctors make appropriate interventions to promote health and prevent illness.