Naturopathic medicine is based on the belief that the human body has an innate healing ability. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) teach their patients to use diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and cutting edge natural therapies to enhance their bodies’ ability to ward off and combat disease. NDs view the patient as a complex, interrelated system—in other words, a whole person. Naturopathic physicians craft comprehensive treatment plans that blend the best of modern medical science and traditional natural medical approaches to not only treat disease, but ultimately, to restore health.
Naturopathic physicians base their practice on six timeless principles founded on medical tradition and scientific evidence:
Let nature heal. Our bodies have a powerful, innate instinct for self-healing. By finding and removing the barriers to this self-healing—such as poor diet or unhealthy habits—naturopathic physicians can nurture this process.
Identify and treat causes. Unless the root illness is addressed, symptoms will only return. Rather than cover up symptoms, naturopathic physicians seek to find and treat the cause of these symptoms.
First, do no harm. Naturopathic physicians follow three precepts to ensure their patients’ safety:
- Use low-risk procedures and healing compounds—such as dietary supplements, herbal extracts and homeopathy—with few or no side effects.
- When possible, do not suppress symptoms, which are the body’s efforts to self-heal.
- Customize each diagnosis and treatment plan to fit each patient. We all heal in different ways, and the naturopathic physician respects our differences.
Educate patients. Naturopathic medicine subscribes to the belief that doctors must be educators, as well as physicians. That’s why naturopathic physicians teach their patients how to eat, exercise, relax and nurture themselves physically and emotionally. They also encourage taking responsibility for one’s own health and work closely with patients to guide and support them in making good choices.
Treat the whole person. We each have a unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, sexual and spiritual makeup. The naturopathic physician knows that all these factors affect our health. That’s why he or she includes them in a carefully tailored treatment strategy.
Prevent illness. Proactive medicine saves money, pain, misery and lives. That’s why naturopathic physicians evaluate risk factors, heredity and vulnerability to disease. When we keep ourselves healthy, we’re less likely to need treatment for future illness.