Naturopathic medicine is a unique system of medicine which focuses on the individual rather than the disease. Natural treatments are used to help stimulate the healing potential of the body, maintain health and overcome illness. The symptoms of disease are seen as evidence of improper functioning within the body and are the practitioner’s guide in choosing the best course of treatment. Naturopathic medicine is distinguished by the principles which underlie its practice.
Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
- First, do no harm. The use of minimally invasive treatments and the gentlest possible assessment methods.
- Treat the cause of disease. Identifying and removing the underlying cause of illness rather than suppressing or masking symptoms.
- Doctor as teacher. Working collaboratively with patients, sharing knowledge and encouraging self-responsibility for health.
- To heal the whole person through individualized treatment. The patient’s physical, mental, emotional and social factors are taken into account during the course of assessment and treatment.
- To emphasize prevention. Emphasis is placed on the prevention of disease through the assessment of risk factors, heredity and susceptibility.
- The healing power of nature. Naturopathic medicine recognizes an ordered and intelligent self-healing process that is inherent to every individual.
Assessment & Treatment
Naturopathic doctors are rigorously trained in modern and traditional methods of assessment, diagnosis and treatment. A complete history, thorough physical exam and appropriate laboratory tests are all tools used to fully understand the individual’s state of health.
The treatments employed by a naturopathic doctor will vary depending on the individual’s state of health but may include clinical nutrition, lifestyle counseling, herbal medicine, acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, homeopathy, injection therapies and intravenous therapies. The diagnostic and therapeutic methods of naturopathic medicine are taken from a variety of sources and systems and will continue to evolve with the progress of knowledge and science.