is Naturopathic Medicine?
Founded upon a holistic philosophy, naturopathic medicine combines safe
and effective traditional therapies with the most current advances in
modern medicine. Naturopathic medicine is appropriate for the management
of a broad range of health conditions affecting all people of all ages.
As a distinct system of primary health care - an art, science, philosophy
and practice of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of illness - naturopathic
medicine is distinguished by the principles which underlie and determine
its practice. These principles are based upon the objective observation
of the nature of health and disease, and are continually reexamined in
the light of scientific advances. Methods used are consistent with these
principles and are chosen upon the basis of patient individuality. Naturopathic
physicians are primary health care practitioners whose diverse techniques
include both modern and traditional, scientific and empirical methods.
(N.D.s) are the most thoroughly trained practitioners in the broadest
scope of naturopathic medical modalities. In addition to the basic medical
sciences and conventional diagnostics, naturopathic education includes
clinical/therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, pharmacology, counseling,
homeopathy, natural childbirth, classical Chinese medicine, hydrotherapy,
naturopathic manipulative therapy, and minor surgery.
A Licensed naturopathic physician (N.D.) attends
a four-year, graduate level, accredited naturopathic medical school and
is educated in all of the same basic sciences as an M.D. while simultaneously
studying holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis
on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. Naturopathic physicians
are required to pass rigorous professional board exams in order to become
licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care general practice
physician. Additional information on naturopathic schools can be found
The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)
The healing power of nature is the inherent self-organizing and healing
process of living systems which establishes, maintains and restores health.
Naturopathic medicine recognizes this healing process to be ordered and
intelligent. It is the naturopathic physician's role to support, facilitate
and augment this process by identifying and removing obstacles to health
and recovery, and by supporting the creation of a healthy internal and
Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam)
Illness does not occur without cause. Causes may originate in many areas.
Underlying causes of illness and disease must be identified and removed
before complete recovery can occur. Symptoms can be expressions of the
body's attempt to defend itself, to adapt and recover, to heal itself,
or may be results of the causes of disease. The naturopathic physician
seeks to treat the causes of disease, rather than to merely eliminate
or suppress symptoms.
First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)
Naturopathic physicians follow three precepts to avoid harming the patient:
- Naturopathic physicians utilize methods and
medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful effects, and
apply the least possible force or intervention necessary to diagnose
illness and restore health.
- Whenever possible the suppression of symptoms
is avoided as suppression generally interferes with the healing process.
- Naturopathic physicians respect and work with
the vis medicatrix naturae in diagnosis, treatment and counseling, for
if this self-healing process is not respected the patient may be harmed.
Doctor As Teacher
The original meaning of the word "doctor" is teacher. A principal
objective of naturopathic medicine is to educate the patient and emphasize
self-responsibility for health. Naturopathic physicians also recognize
and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
Treat the Whole Person
Health and disease result from a complex of physical, mental, emotional,
genetic, environmental, social and other factors. Since total health also
includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals
to pursue their personal spiritual development. Naturopathic medicine
recognizes the harmonious functioning of all aspects of the individual
as being essential to health. The multifactorial nature of health and
disease requires a personalized and comprehensive approach to diagnosis
and treatment. Naturopathic physicians treat the whole person taking all
of these factors into account.
Naturopathic medical colleges emphasize the study of health as well as
disease. The prevention of disease and the attainment of optimal health
in patients are primary objectives of naturopathic medicine. In practice,
these objectives are accomplished through education and the promotion
of healthy ways of living. Naturopathic physicians assess risk factors,
heredity and susceptibility to disease, and make appropriate interventions
in partnership with their patients to prevent illness. Naturopathic medicine
asserts that one cannot be healthy in an unhealthy environment and is
committed to the creation of a world in which humanity may thrive.
- Naturopathic Physician's Oath
I dedicate myself to the service of humanity as a practitioner of the
art and science of Naturopathic medicine.
- I will honor my teachers and all who have preserved
and developed this knowledge and dedicate myself to supporting the growth
and evolution of Naturopathic medicine. I will endeavor to continually
improve my abilities as a healer through study, reflection, and genuine
concern for humanity. I will impart knowledge of the advanced healing
arts to dedicated colleagues and students.
- Through precept, lecture, and example, I will
assist and encourage others to strengthen their health, reduce risks
for disease, and preserve the health of our planet for ourselves, our
families, and future generations.
- According to my best ability and judgment, I
will use methods of treatment which follow the principles of Naturopathic
- First of all, to do no harm.
- To act in cooperation with the Healing Power
- To address the fundamental causes of disease.
- To heal the whole person through individualized
- To teach the principles of healthy living and
conduct my life and the practice of Naturopathic health care with vigilance,
integrity, and freedom from prejudice. I will abstain from voluntary acts
of injustice and corruption. I will keep confidential whatever I am privileged
to witness, whether professionally or privately, that should not be divulged.
my whole heart, before this gathering of witnesses, as a Doctor of Naturopathic
Medicine, I pledge to remain true to this oath.
Adopted at the 1992 AANP Annual Convention.