Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to utilize the conventional methods of medical diagnosis, as well as the traditional healing modalities of natural medicine. In blending the two perspectives, my approach to healing is guided by the Principles of Naturopathic Medicine. These principles present a very different paradigm from that of conventional medicine. How, then, do these principles influence my approach to patient care?
The first principle, the Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae), recognizes that all life has a natural innate biological process that defends the organism from disease. In the case of human beings, this inherent healing process is known as the immune system.
The human immune system is a complex and multi-faceted mechanism. In many individuals, modern living has disrupted and impaired this mechanism. The naturopathic remedies I employ, therefore, are designed to remind the body of its own healing ability and reinstate the proper process of self-healing.
The first homeopathic doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, wrote about the importance of removing obstacles to cure in his Organon of Medicine. Naturopathic Medicine also employs this approach. Because of the second principle, Identify and Treat the Cause (Tolle Causam), a Naturopathic Doctor will spend a lot of time trying to get to the bottom of a patient’s symptoms.
We aren’t just interested in a proper diagnosis; we also consider the etiology of the condition and various contributing factors. This may include detailed examination of the events around the first appearance of symptoms, hereditary factors, and other individual predispositions. Often there is an underlying cause for these symptoms that can be used to guide the treatment process. We do not seek to suppress symptoms, so much as to uncover and gently treat those underlying causes or obstacles to cure.
In order to Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere), the third principle of Naturopathic Medicine, a Naturopathic practitioner such as myself will try to employ the least force in order to produce the best outcome without suppressing an individual’s innate healing process. Naturopathic remedies, homeopathic remedies, and botanical medicines are typically very harmonious with the body’s natural physiology and chemistry, producing gentle, effective results.
In my role as Doctor as Teacher (Docere), I want to create an atmosphere of clear communication that supports a healing partnership with my patients. In following the fourth principle, I strive not only to educate patients about how I am treating them, but also engage them in their individual healing process.
Most Naturopaths tend to conduct lengthy appointments and this is part of the reason. We want you to understand our treatment rationale, ask questions, understand your own healing process, and be involved and committed to your health and wellbeing.
To Treat the Whole Person, which is the fifth principle of Naturopathic Medicine, is to acknowledge that your experience with your symptoms or disease process is unique and to treat you individually. It also appreciates that your healing process will be distinctive to you, as well. All elements of your health and wellbeing are taken into consideration including environmental, hereditary, temperament, social, mental, emotional and spiritual factors. Addressing all of these facets of your life provides a pathway by which you can work in a holistic way towards becoming the healthiest version of your self.
The sixth and last principle of Naturopathic Medicine is Prevention. Many Naturopathic treatment modalities are both healing and preventative in nature and can be applied for either purpose. For example, nearly everyone these days can benefit from improving their diet and exercise habits. In addition, when you embark on a comprehensive approach to healing, your family and friends often become part of the process and may benefit from your experience as well.
Together, these principles are the guidelines for promoting Nature Cure. By following these principles, Naturopathic Medical Doctors facilitate and provide a patient centered, natural approach to healing.