The Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individual’s inherent self-healing process. Naturopathic physicians use modern and traditional, scientific, and empirical methods of treatment.
The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)
Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in the body that is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to recovery, and to facilitate and augment this healing ability.
First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)
Naturopathic physicians follow three guidelines to avoid harming the patient:
(1) Utilize methods and medicinal substances that minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat;
(2) Avoid, when possible, the harmful suppression of symptoms; and
(3) Acknowledge, respect, and work with the individual’s self-healing process.
Identify and Treat the Cause(s) (Tolle Causam)
The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying cause(s) of illness, rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
Doctor as Teacher (Docere)
Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize the therapeutic value of the doctor-patient relationship.
Treat the Whole Person (Tolle Totum)
Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.
Prevention is the best “cure” (Praevenire)
Naturopathic physicians emphasize disease prevention through the assessment of risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and by making appropriate interventions, in partnership with their patients, to prevent illness.
Naturopathic practice includes the following diagnostic and therapeutic modalities*: clinical and laboratory diagnostic testing, nutritional medicine, botanical medicine, naturopathic physical medicine (including naturopathic manipulative therapy), public health measures, hygiene, counseling, minor surgery, homeopathy, acupuncture, prescription medication, intravenous and injection therapy, and naturopathic obstetrics (natural childbirth).
*The extent to which are limited by the scope of practice in a practitioner’s state.