The Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
The Healing Power of Nature:
Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in the person, which is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this inherent self-healing process.
Identify and Treat the Causes: The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness, rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
First Do No Harm: Naturopathic physicians follow three precepts to avoid harming the patient:
- Utilize methods and medical substances that minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary.
- Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms.
- Acknowledge, respect and work with the individual’s self-healing process.
Doctor As Teacher: Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
Treat the Whole Person: Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account individuality in physical, mental, emotional, energetic, environmental, social and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
A Naturopathic Physician (ND) is a general practitioner trained as an expert in natural medicine. Naturopathic medicine concentrates on whole-patient wellness. This medicine is tailored to the patient and emphasizes prevention and self-care. Naturopathic medicine attempts to find the underlying cause of the patient’s condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment.
For example, congestion might be caused by a food allergy or an environmental factor. A naturopathic physician would focus on diagnosis and treatment on these causal factors. Naturopathic physicians cooperate with all other branches of medical science referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.
What Types of Treatment Does a Naturopathic Physician Offer?
A Naturopathic Physician performs physical examinations, laboratory testing, gynecological exams, nutritional and dietary assessments, metabolic analysis, allergy testing and other diagnostic tests. They are primary care physicians clinically trained in the use of a wide variety of natural therapeutics. They combine and adapt these treatments to the needs of the individual based on a cogent philosophy that acknowledges the patient as a participant.
Naturopathic Medicine is effective in treating many health problems, both acute and chronic.
Some of the therapies used by naturopathic physicians are described below:
Clinical Nutrition: Refers to both the practice of using food and nutritional supplements therapeutically to maintain health and treat illness. Scientific research has shown that many medical conditions can be treated as effectively with food and nutritional supplements as they can by other means, with fewer complications and side effects.
Homeopathy: A powerful system of medicine that is more than 200 years old, homeopathic remedies act to enhance the body’s innate immune response and rarely have side effects. Some conditions that do not respond to conventional medicine may respond well to homeopathic therapies.
Botanical Medicine: Many plant substances are powerful medicines that are safe and effective when used properly. A resurgence of scientific research in Europe and Asia is demonstrating
that some plant substances are superior to synthetic drugs in treating clinical conditions.
Oriental Medicine: Includes acupuncture and Oriental botanical medicine to diagnose and treat disease.
Counseling and Stress Management: Mental attitudes and emotional states can be important elements in healing illness.