Naturopathic medicine is an integrative approach to healthcare that combines time-tested methods of healing with modern approaches to promote natural healing, disease prevention and overall wellness. Conventional medicine tends to treat medical incidents as isolated, single events. Naturopathic medicine heals and maintains the whole body in order to promote wellness, prevent illness and treat chronic health conditions.
The Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
- First Do No Harm: The ultimate responsibility of naturopathic doctors is to be of benefit to their patients. Naturopathic doctors use safe, gentle and tested therapies to improve their patients’ health and well-being. Naturopathic doctors also stringently maintain their awareness of current scientific and medical literature so that the latest evidence-based therapies and treatments can be shared with their patients.
- Support the Body’s Inherent Ability to Heal: Naturopathic doctors believe that our bodies are remarkably adept at keeping us healthy. Once environmental factors and external pressures are removed or neutralized, we will naturally find our own way to health. Naturopathic doctors work to restore their patients to a natural balance of health so that their bodies can maintain wellness against the external influences of everyday modern living.
- Identify and Treat the Cause: Naturopathic doctors treat the person, not the disease, by working with the patient to identify the underlying causes of any chronic or acute symptoms. These can be as varied as malnutrition, stress, insomnia, heredity or any number of other lifestyle factors that are often only discovered through careful collaboration between the doctor and patient.
- The Doctor as Teacher: The Latin root of “Doctor” is docere, which means “to teach.” Naturopathic doctors believe that the patient has ultimate responsibility for their own health and that the best way to promote wellness is to give the patient the tools to foster and protect their own health through education. Naturopathic doctors believe that patients should not only know their condition, they should understand what is going on in their body. Health is complex, but it need not be confusing.
- Treat the Whole Person: Illness is often caused by a complex interaction of lifestyle, diet, environment, genetics, mental, physical and spiritual health. Without consideration of all the many factors that contribute to a patient’s well-being, the underlying causes of any given illness may remain a mystery to both patient and practitioner. Naturopathic doctors assess the overall health of their patients to heal the body, not the illness.
- Emphasize Prevention: Naturopathic doctors focus on improving the overall wellness of their patients to so that symptoms of fundamental distress such as illness never manifest. Naturopathic doctors provide general check-ups, physical exams, well-child visits, gynecological exams, and an overall structure of screening tests so that emergent conditions can be discovered and treated before they threaten the health of the patient. Naturopathic doctors excel at recognizing trends in a patient’s health so that positives can be encouraged and negatives can be treated before the patient’s long-term health is affected.