Naturopathic medicine is a vital, growing branch of health care that blends time-honored traditions with modern medical science.
The term “Naturopathy” was coined in the late 1800’s to describe the American and European health movements that emphasized natural methods in the treatment of disease.
The guiding principle of naturopathic medicine is found in the Latin phrase “Vis medicatrix naturae” … “Let nature be the force of your medicine.” These medicines include general diet, vitamins, minerals, botanical preparations, homeopathic remedies and natural prescription medicines such as antibiotics and hormones.
Treatment programs may also include physiotherapy (hydrotherapy, heat, electricity, light, massage and manipulation), lifestyle changes and counseling. Ultimately your doctor will help you find a program that supports and encourages your body’s own healing process.
The 6 Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
The practice of naturopathic medicine emerges from six principles of healing. These principles are based on the objective observation of the nature of health and disease and are examined continually in light of scientific analysis.
These principles stand as the distinguishing marks of our profession:
1) The healing power of nature -- vis
2) Identify and treat the cause -- tolle
3) First do no harm -- primum no nocere
4) Treat the whole person -- in
perturbato animo sicut in corpore sanitas esse non potest
5) The physician as teacher -- docere
6) Prevention -- principiis obsta: sero
What type of education do Naturopathic doctors receive?
The Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine is a four-year graduate program. To become a naturopathic doctor you must graduate from one of the 5 accredited Naturopathic medical schools. They are....
These school train holistic primary care physicians and prepare them to sit for examination in states and provinces that license N.D.s (naturopathic physicians).
What Modalities do Naturopathic Doctors use?
Botanical Medicine: Many plant substances are powerful medicines. Where isolated chemically derived drugs may address only a single problem, botanical medicines are able to address a variety of problems simultaneously. When properly utilized, most botanical medicines can be applied effectively with minimal likelihood of side effects.
Clinical Nutrition: Food is the best medicine and is a cornerstone of naturopathic practice. Many medical conditions can be treated more effectively with foods and nutritional supplements than they can by other means, with fewer complications and side effects. N.D.s use diet, natural hygiene, fasting, and nutritional supplementation in their practices.
Homeopathic Medicine: Homeopathic medicine is based on the principle of “like cures like.” Clinical observation indicates that it works on a subtle, yet powerful, energetic level, gently acting to promote healing on the physical, mental, and spiritual levels.
Mind/Body Medicine: Mental attitudes and emotional states may influence, or even cause, physical illness. Counselling, nutritional balancing, stress management, hypnotherapy, biofeedback, and other therapies are used to help patients heal psychologically.
Naturopathic Obstetrics/midwifery: Naturopathic physicians provide natural childbirth care in an out-of-hospital setting. They offer prenatal and postnatal care using modern diagnostic techniques combined with ancient midwifery wisdom. The naturopathic approach strengthens healthy body functions so that complications associated with pregnancy may be prevented.
Minor Surgery: Naturopathic physicians do in-office minor surgery, including repair of superficial wounds and removal of foreign bodies, cysts, and superficial lesions.
Oriental Medicine: Within the N.D. program, Oriental medicine is a healing philosophy that is complementary to naturopathic medicine. Oriental medical theory offers an important understanding of the unity of the body and mind and adds to the Western understanding of physiology.
Physical Medicine: Naturopathic medicine has its own methods of therapeutic manipulation of soft tissue, muscles, bones, and spine. N.D.s also use ultrasound, diathermy, exercise, massage, water, heat and cold, and gentle electrical therapies.