Naturopathic medicine is a science-based tradition that promotes wellness by identifying the unique aspects of each patient and then using non-toxic natural therapies to restore his or her physical, mental, and structural balance.
Naturopathic medicine follows a number of key principles:
- The healing power of nature: The body has an inherent ability to maintain and restore health. Naturopathic physicians facilitate this healing process by removing obstacles to cure and identifying treatments to enhance healing.
- Identify and treat the cause: Naturopathic physicians treat the underlying causes of illness rather than just the symptoms of disease. Symptoms are an external manifestation of an internal imbalance due to any combination of physical, mental, or emotional causes. Symptom management may be important, but it is more important not to disregard the underlying cause of disease.
- First do no harm: A naturopathic treatment plan uses therapies that are gentle, non-invasive, effective, and do not have adverse side effects. A conscious effort is made to use methods that do not suppress symptoms.
- Doctor as teacher: The primary role of naturopathic physicians is educating, empowering, and motivating patients to assume more personal responsibility for their health by adopting a healthy attitude, lifestyle, and diet.
- Treat the whole person: Naturopathic physicians identify specific weaknesses or dysfunctions in their patients and tailor treatment based upon the patient’s individual presentation. It is the patient that is in need of treatment, not the disease state or symptom. Naturopathic physicians are interested in finding and treating characteristic symptoms that define the patient rather than common symptoms that define the disease.
- Prevention: It is far easier and cheaper to prevent a disease than to treat a disease. Naturopathic physicians evaluate both subjective and objective information necessary to uncover potential susceptibilities to future disease states in their patients. They can discuss specific lifestyle strategies or nutritional supplementation as a means for disease prevention.
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