is Naturopathic Medicine?
medicine is an ages-old (yet extremely modern) discipline
that uses knowledge of the way the body works and what a person
needs to be healthy as a means to help individuals heal themselves.
This allows the integration of diet, exercise, lifestyle,
homeopathy, botanical (herbal) medicine, and many other natural
modalities with all the benefits of modern medical scientific
discovery in the service of each individual patient.
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP)
has a brief history of naturopathic medicine on its website
naturopathic physicians follow a set of principles that help
us bring our shared vision to our patients. These principles
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 external environment.
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.
As Teacher (Docere)
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
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.
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
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
First of all, to do no harm.
To act in cooperation with the Healing Power of Nature.
To address the fundamental causes of disease.
To heal the whole person through individualized treatment.
To teach the principles of healthy living and preventive
I will 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 wtiness, whether professionally or
privately, that should not be divulged.
With 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.
Yellowstone Naturopathic Clinic
720 N. 30th St.
Billings, MT 59101
PHONE 406·259·5096/FAX 406·248·5655