Naturopathic medicine is a multi-disciplinary approach to health care that recognizes the body's innate power to heal itself.
The practice of naturopathic medicine is based on the same bio-medical science foundation that conventional medical practice is; however, the philosophy and approach differs considerably. Naturopathic physicians diagnose disease and treat patients by using therapeutic substances and techniques which act in harmony with the body's self-healing processes, avoiding treatments which are designed to counteract or supervene them. The body has many regulating mechanisms that keep our bodies in balance. Some of these mechanisms balance blood pressure, hormone levels, temperature, and prevent infection. When a regulating mechanism fails, disease can occur. Naturopathic physicians are trained to recognize which mechanisms have failed, and to correct them so that the body can self-regulate once again, often without the need for pharmaceuticals.
Naturopathic medicine is a holistic and preventative approach to health. It takes into consideration physiological, structural, psychological, social and lifestyle factors affecting health. It emphasizes disease as a process rather than disease as an entity. Treatments are chosen based on the individual patient, not based on the generality of symptoms. This approach has proven successful in treating both chronic and acute conditions.
Naturopathic physicians have extensive training which requires a minimum of seven years of post graduate studies. They are trained in basic and clinical sciences including pharmacology, drug-nutrient-herb interactions, and diagnostic imaging. Naturopathic physicians bridge the gap between the medicine of tradition and the medicine of science.
Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
The following tenets govern the practice of naturopathic medicine:
1. Primum Non Nocere (First Do No Harm)
The Naturopathic Physician uses methods and medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effects, avoids, when possible, the harmful suppression of symptoms, and works with the individual's self-healing process.
2. Vis Medicatrix Naturae (The Healing Power of Nature)
The Naturopathic Physician shall recognize, respect and promote the self-healing power of nature inherent in each individual human being. Naturopathic Physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and increase this inherent self-healing process.
3. Tolle Causum (Treat the Cause)
The Naturopathic Physician shall strive to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness, rather than to eliminate or suppress symptoms.
4. Docere (Doctor as Teacher)
The Naturopathic Physician shall educate his/her patients, inspire rational hope and encourage self-responsibility for health.
5. Treat the Whole Person
The Naturopathic Physician shall treat each person by accounting for all individual health factors and influences.
6. Health Promotion, the Best Prevention
Naturopathic Physicians emphasize the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease and initiating appropriate interventions