Naturopathy, or Naturopathic Medicine, is a distinct, integrated system of primary health care offered by licensed physicians. It consists of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of human disorders by the therapeutic use of natural methods and materials. These might include Nutrition, Herbs, Contrast therapy, Homeopathy, or ancient medical systems TCM. Naturopathic Medicine is a natural approach to health and healing that recognizes the integrity of the whole person.
The practice of Naturopathic Medicine includes six underlying principles of healing. These are based on the observation of health and disease. This observation process involves the use of modern scientific methodologies and language.
The following principles make Naturopathic Medicine different from all other medical approaches:
•First do no harm: Primum Non Nocere
Dis-ease is a purposeful process of the organism. The process of healing includes the generation of symptoms which are, in fact, an expression of the VITAL force attempting to heal itself. The physician’s actions can support (vis mediatrix naturae) — the healing power of Nature. Therefore, conventional methods designed to suppress symptoms without removing the underlying causes are considered harmful and to be avoided or minimized.
•The healing power of nature: Vis Mediatrix Naturae
The body has an inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. The healing process is ordered and intelligent; Nature heals through the response of the life force. The physician’s role is to facilitate this process, to identify and remove obstacles to health and recovery, and to establish or restore a healthy internal and external environment.
•Identify and treat the cause: Tolle Causum
Illness does not occur without cause. Underlying causes of disease must be discovered and removed or treated before a person can recover completely from illness. Symptoms express the body’s attempt to heal, but are not the cause of disease. Symptoms, therefore, should not be suppressed by treatment. Causes may occur on many levels including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The physician must evaluate fundamental underlying causes on all levels, directing treatment at root causes rather than at symptomatic expression.
•Heal the whole person: Tolle Totum
The naturopathic physician must treat the whole person by taking these factors into account. The harmonious functioning of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects are essential to recovery from and prevention of disease. This requires a comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment.
•The physician as teacher: Docere
A cooperative doctor-patient relationship has inherent therapeutic value. The physician’s major role is to educate and encourage the patient to take responsibility for their own health. The physician is a catalyst for healthful change, empowering and motivating the patient to assume responsibility. It is the patient, not the doctor, who ultimately creates/accomplishes healing. Teaching with hope, knowledge, and understanding, the physician acts to enable patients to heal.
•Prevention: Prevention is the best cure
The ultimate goal of any health care system should be prevention of disease. This is accomplished through education and promotion of life-habits that create good health. The physician learns to assess risk factors and to sharpen their deductive reasoning, and understand the patient’s circumstances. Appropriate interventions are then sought to avoid further harm or risk to the patient. Building health works better and more surely than fighting disease.
Naturopathic philosophy serves as the basis for naturopathic practice. The current scope of naturopathic practice includes, but is not limited to:
•Nutrition–A cornerstone of naturopathic practice is that food is the best medicine. Many medical conditions can be treated more effectively with foods and nutritional supplements than by other means, with fewer complications and side effects. These methods can be used as either alternatives to mainstream medicine, or as complementary and in concert with it, depending on the desires of the patient.
•Botanical Medicine–Many plant substances are powerful medicines. Their organic nature makes botanicals compatible with the body’s own chemistry; they can be gently effective with fewer toxic side effects. Their availability and safety make them more useful and affordable for home care of chronic conditions.
•Homeopathic Medicine–Homeopathic medicine is based on the principle of “like cures like.” It works on a subtle yet powerful electromagnetic level, gently acting to strengthen the body’s healing and immune response. Because these are both effective and very safe, naturopathic physicians share a respect for this system of medicine with practitioners of many other healing arts. Homeopathy is a central part of our comprehensive training for these reasons.
•TCM–TCM is a complementary philosophy of natural healing brought to the medical community, largely through naturopathic medicine. Asiatic and Oriental systems offer an important understanding of the unity of the body and mind, which add to those of the West. Unification between philosophy and practice in the East and West offers health benefits for all of our cultures. These promise to help harmonize the imbalances present in disease conditions and restore the dynamic balance of health.