Naturopathic Medicine is prevention based-patient focused healthcare that is derived from a Hippocratic teaching that the human body has an innate healing ability. It is used to diagnose and treat people in efforts to promote health through the education and promotion of therapeutic methods that help maintain balance within the body. Treatment plans are designed for the individual patient, not for the generality of symptoms. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are trained as primary care physicians with a medical education that has additional course work in naturopathic therapeutic modalities. These modalities include clinical nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, counseling, hydrotherapy, body work, physiotherapy, and pharmacology among others. Naturopathic medicine investigates the relationship between physical, mental, and emotional wellness to create health.
The six principles that guide the therapeutic methods and modalities of naturopathic medicine include:
Do No Harm – primum non nocere
Naturopathic medicine strives to use therapies that do not suppress disease or create more harm that blocks the body’s ability to heal.
The Healing Power of Nature – vis medicatrix naturae
The human body possesses an inherent ability to restore health. The physician’s role is to facilitate this process and remove barriers to healing.
Treat the Cause – totale causam
It is the ultimate goal of physicians to seek and treat the underlying cause of disease. Naturopathic medicine strives as an approach to not suppress symptoms, as suppression deepens the root of disease. Symptoms are viewed as an expression of the body’s natural attempt to heal and act as indicators for what is occurring within the body.
Treat the Whole Person – totale totum
Each individual has a unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, and social makeup that all affect the state of health. Naturopathic physicians consider all of the factors that make up health and disease to create tailored treatment programs that meet different health care needs.
The Physician as a Teacher – docere
It is through education that the physician empowers and motivates patients to take responsibility for their own health. They encourage self-responsibility and work closely in a healthy cooperative relationship.
Proactive medicine saves money and improves health. Naturopathic physicians assess risk factors, genetic susceptibility, and vulnerability to disease to reduce and prevent future illness.