What is Naturopathic Medicine?
The Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine:
- Docere: Doctor as Teacher
- Vix Medicatrix Naturae: Healing Power of Nature
- Tolle Causum: Identify and Treat the Cause
- Primum no nocere: First, Do No Harm
- Treat the Whole Person
Naturopathic Medicine is rooted in the philosophy of whole body medicine, utilizing a multitude of therapeutics to treat a variety of conditions and patients of all ages. Doctors trained in Naturopathic Medicine are competent to practice general medicine and may have specializations within their scope. Modalities in which the physicians are trained include homeopathy, nutritional medicine, botanical medicine, minor surgery, natural childbirth, physical medicine, classical Chinese medicine, and hydrotherapy.
Licensed naturopathic physicians (ND) attend an accredited four-year post-graduate medical school, of which there are currently six in North America. See Links page for more information about these schools.
The differences between a naturopathic doctor and a “conventional” medical doctor (MD) are several. First, though the naturopathic education is similar in the first two years of school (basic sciences, pathology, clinical diagnosis, pharmacology etc…), the last two year are focused on the natural therapeutics, both in the classroom and in a clinical setting. Our approach is about treating the cause with safe and non-toxic natural medicine and not simply palliation of symptoms. The six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine are illustrative of the core essence of Naturopathic Medicine:
Docere: Doctor as Teacher
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 and accomplishes healing.
Vix Medicatrix Naturae: Healing Power of Nature
The body has the inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. 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
Tolle Causum: Identify and Treat the Cause
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 symptomatic expression.
Primum no nocere: First, Do No Harm
Therapeutic actions should be complimentary to and synergistic with the natural healing process. Naturopathic physicians strive to use the least invasive, most effective treatments possible to gently bring back a state of balance. Methods designed to suppress symptoms without removing underlying causes are considered harmful and are avoided or minimized.
Treat the Whole Person
Health and disease are conditions of the whole organism, involving complex interactions between physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. The harmonious functioning of the individual in each and every one of these realms is essential to recovery from and prevention of disease.
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 disease.