Naturopathic Medicine is a distinctively natural approach to health and
healing that recognizes the integrity of the whole person. Naturopathic
Medicine is heir to the vitalistic tradition of medicine in the Western
world, emphasizing the treatment of disease through the stimulation,
enhancement, and support of the inherent healing capacity of the person.
Methods of treatments are chosen to work with the patient's vital force,
respecting the intelligence of the natural healing process. The practice of
Naturopathic Medicine emerges from six underlying principles of healing. These
principles are based on the objective observation of the nature of health and
disease, and are continually reexamined in light of scientific analysis. It is
these principles that distinguish the profession from other medical approaches:
power of nature. vis medicatrix naturae
The body has the 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 and augment
this process, to act to identify and remove obstacles to health and recovery,
and to support the creation of a healthy internal and external environment.
treat the cause. tolle causam
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 are expressions of 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
First do no
harm. primum no nocere
Illness is a purposeful process of the organism. The process of healing
includes the generation of symptoms which are, in fact, an expression of the
life force attempting to heal itself. Therapeutic actions should be
complimentary to and synergistic with this healing process. The physician's
actions can support or antagonize the actions of the vis medicatrix naturae.
Therefore, methods designed to suppress symptoms without removing underlying
causes are considered harmful and are avoided or minimized.
whole person. The multifactorial nature of health and disease
Health and disease are conditions of the whole organism, a whole involving a
complex interaction of physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, genetic,
environmental, social, and other factors. The physician must treat the whole
person by taking all of these factors into account. The harmonious functioning
of all aspects of the individual is essential to recovery from and prevention
of disease, and requires a personalized and comprehensive approach to
diagnosis and treatment.
physician as teacher. docere
Beyond an accurate diagnosis and appropriate prescription, the physician must
work to create a healthy, sensitive interpersonal relationship with the
patient. 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 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. The
physician must strive to inspire hope as well as understanding. The physician
must also make a commitment to his/her personal and spiritual development in
order to be a good teacher.
Prevention is the best "cure"
The ultimate goal of any health care system should be prevention. This is
accomplished through education and promotion of life-habits that create good
health. The physician assesses risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to
disease and makes appropriate interventions to avoid further harm and risk to
the patient. The emphasis is on building health rather than on fighting
Naturopathic philosophy serves as the basis for naturopathic practice. The
current scope of naturopathic practice includes, but is not limited to:
That food is the best medicine is a cornerstone of naturopathic practice. Many
medical conditions can be treated more effectively with foods and nutritional
supplements than they can by other means, with fewer complications and side
effects. Naturopathic physicians use dietetics, natural hygiene, fasting, and
nutritional supplementation in practice.
Many plant substances are powerful medicines. Where single chemically-derived
drugs may only address a single problem, botanical medicines are able to
address a variety of problems simultaneously. Their organic nature makes
botanicals compatible with the body's own chemistry; hence, they can be gently
effective with few toxic side effects.
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.
Naturopathic Medicine has its own methods of therapeutic manipulation of
muscles, bones, and spine. N.D.'s also use ultrasound, diathermy, exercise,
massage, water, heat and cold, air, and gentle electrical pulses.
Oriental medicine is a complimentary healing philosophy to naturopathic
medicine. Meridian theory offers an important understanding of the unity of
the body and mind, and adds to the Western understanding of physiology.
Acupuncture provides a method of treatment which can unify and harmonize the
imbalances present in disease conditions, which, if untreated, can result in
Mental attitudes and emotional states may influence, or even cause, physical
illness. Counseling, nutritional balancing, stress management, hypnotherapy,
biofeedback, and other therapies are used to help patients heal on the