What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a primary health care system combining modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease.
With extensive education, including a pre-med degree and four years of training at an accredited naturopathic college, NDs integrate standard medical diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies. The ND medical program covers education in biomedical and clinical sciences as well as naturopathic therapies such as nutritional and lifestyle counseling, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, homeopathy, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, massage therapy, and physical manipulation. They are also trained in conventional medical procedures such as history taking, physical exams, lab interpretation and diagnostics. NDs are eclectic, each with a slightly different approach, but they all believe that balancing the mind and body is the path to optimal health because it supports the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Naturopathic doctors are also experts at early detection, prevention, and treatment of chronic disease. Their personalized treatment plans work with each individual patient’s lifestyle and body chemistry.
Naturopathic doctors are guided by six fundamental healing principles:
- First, to do no harm, by using methods and medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effects.
- To treat the causes of disease, by identifying and removing the underlying causes of illness, rather than suppressing symptoms.
- To teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine, by sharing knowledge with patients and encouraging individual responsibility for health.
- To heal the whole person through individualized treatment, by understanding the unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors that contribute to illness, and customizing treatment protocols to the patient.
- To emphasize prevention, by partnering with the patient to assess risk factors and recommend appropriate naturopathic interventions to maintain health and prevent illness.
- To support the healing power of the body, by recognizing and removing obstacles to the body's inherent self-healing process.