The fundamental principles:
power of nature ♦ identify and treat the causes
first do no harm
doctor as teacher ♦ Treat the whole person ♦ prevention
Naturopathic medicine integrates time-honored traditional medicine from cultures worldwide with modern science to bring the best in natural therapeutics to health care.
The naturopathic paradigm differs from other systems of medicine by its view on health; the development of disease; the self-healing mechanisms of the body; and an emphasis on the interplay of body-mind-spirit in personal well-being. Illness is viewed as a reaction to a disturbance of the body’s homeostasis, which, if it persists, forces the body into a chronic response, that ultimately manifests as chronic disease. Each disturbance can be seen as adding a layer of burden to the person’s vitality, and therefore, their capacity to heal. Naturopathic treatments work to reverse this process and revive the body’s ability to react and resist disturbances of its equilibrium. In other words, health is synonymous with homeostatic balance.
It is a relief to many patients to have their perception of “feeling unwell”, or “something is not right” validated by a system of medicine that recognizes that dysfunction precedes pathology. Therefore, Naturopathic doctors don’t wait to intervene until labs, surgical reports or symptoms are consistent with a textbook diagnosis. They utilize various methods of functional assessment to identify where imbalance persists, thereby correctly identifying what needs to be supported in order to restore normal function and eliminate symptoms.
Licensed naturopathic doctors are trained in 4 or 5 year medical programs, and must sit for rigorous national licensing board exams. In addition to basic sciences, pharmacology, and western medical diagnosis, Naturopathic doctors are trained in clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, counseling, minor surgery, and physical medicine. It is the application of these therapies in accordance with the principles that defines their practice as “naturopathic”. Depending where they practice, naturopaths may work as primary care doctors, integrative medicine specialists, or health consultants.