What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic Medicine is a holistic system of healing based on the philosophy that each individual has the innate capacity to heal themselves. This means that within every human being there is a healing force that is responsible for our ability to heal and maintain health.
The Naturopathic Philosophy
Several principals serve as the foundation for the philosophy on which Naturopathic medicine is based. These principals are as follows:
The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae): this is the principal that the body has the innate ability to heal itself and only requires support and guidance.
Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam): Illness does not occur without a cause. Physical symptoms are the way in which the body expresses an imbalance. Instead of merely eliminating or suppressing the symptoms, naturopaths look beyond the physical symptoms to identify the imbalance and treat the cause of the symptoms. Naturopathic medicine treats the person, not the dis-ease.
First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere): Naturopaths use the simplest, least invasive and least harmful treatment modalities to treat a disease.
Doctor as Teacher (Docere): Naturopaths are teachers. They teach people about their body's healing processes and empower them with the understanding that it is up to them to take responsibility for this process. For many people this seems like a very arduous and impossible task. Often they believe that it is the doctor's responsibility to heal them. Naturopaths believe that they act as guides and the responsibility and capacity to heal lies within each individual.
Treat the Whole Person: Naturopaths look at the individual as a "whole" and base their treatment on how to rebalance the mental, emotional and physical factors.
Prevention: Naturopathic medicine is preventive medicine. Naturopaths instruct people in how to prevent a reoccurrence or worsening of their dis-ease process. People without a known illness also seek out the guidance of a naturopathic doctor to help them maintain or achieve an optimal state of health, thus preventing dis-ease.
The Naturopathic Doctor: "A different kind of doctor"
Naturopathic doctors are trained in general medicine as primary care health practitioners in the art and science of medicine. They are the only primary care health practitioners trained to treat acute and chronic disease with natural substances They attend a four year accredited postgraduate naturopathic medical school and they are required to pass a state or national board examination to become licensed. Their education is based on the same basic sciences and clinical diagnosis as that of conventional medical practitioners. They are skilled in the conventional fields of diagnosis which include lab tests and physical exams. Their philosophy and treatment, however, diverge from that of the conventional medical model.
Naturopathic doctors view health and disease as a complex interaction of physical, mental and emotional factors. Naturopathic medicine recognizes that when a balance cannot be struck between these factors then dis-ease or imbalance occurs. Dis-ease is not interpreted as something that should be feared and eradicated, but as a physical and tangible sign that something is not in balance.
The fact that the healing and dis-ease process is viewed as a complex interaction of several factors requires a personalized and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment. Naturopathic doctors take the time to learn about the individual that they are seeing and devise a treatment plan that is specific to the totality of their needs.
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