What Is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine blends centuries-old natural, non-toxic therapies with current advances in the study of health and human systems, covering all aspects of family health from prenatal to geriatric care.
Naturopathic medicine concentrates on “whole person wellness” and is tailored to the patient while emphasizing prevention and self-care. Naturopathic medicine attempts to find the underlying cause of the patient’s condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment. Naturopathic physicians are trained as experts in science-based natural medicine and cooperate with all other branches of medical science, referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.
What Type of Training Does a Naturopathic Doctor Receive?
Naturopathic Doctors (N.D.) receive undergraduate training in standard premedical courses, followed by four years of graduate level medical studies at a United States Department of Education accredited Naturopathic University. The education consists of comparable, standard medical curricula as found in conventional medical schools. The first two years focus on the basic medical sciences (i.e., anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, pharmacology, etc.) followed by two years of clinical sciences, diagnosis, treatment and a clinical out-patient care apprenticeship. Training includes therapeutic nutrition, vitamin/mineral therapies, herbal medicine, exercise therapy, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, physical medicine, minor surgery and lifestyle counseling. Naturopathic Doctors must then pass state licensing board exams in order to obtain a license in those states that offer licensure.
Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
The practice of Naturopathic Medicine emerges from six underlying principles of healing
The Healing Power of Nature
Vis medicatrix naturae
The body has the inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. The physician’s role is to facilitate and augment this process, to identify and remove obstacles to health and to support the creation of a healthy internal and external environment.
Identify and Treat the Cause
Illness does not occur without cause. Underlying causes of disease must be discovered and removed before a person can recover completely from illness. Symptoms are expressions of the body’s attempt to heal, but are not the cause of disease. Naturopathic physicians seek to identify and remove the underlying cause of illness, rather than eliminate or merely suppress symptoms.
First Do No Harm
Primum no nocere
Naturopathic medicine follows three principles to avoid harming the patient: 1) utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side-effects; 2) avoid, when possible, the harmful suppression of symptoms; 3) acknowledge and respect the individual’s healing process, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat illness.
Treat the Whole Person
The multifactorial nature of health and disease requires a personalized comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment. Naturopathic physicians treat the whole person (i.e., physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social and spiritual) taking into account all aspects of their internal and external environment.
The Physician as Teacher
Beyond an accurate diagnosis and appropriate prescription, the physician must work to create a healthy, sensitive interpersonal relationship with the patient. A cooperative doctor-patient relationship has inherent therapeutic value. The physician’s major role is to educate and encourage the patient to take responsibility for his/her own health. The physician is a catalyst for healthful change, empowering and motivating the patient to assume responsibility. After all, it is the patient, not the doctor, who ultimately creates/ accomplishes healing.
Prevention is the best “cure”
The ultimate goal of any health care system should be prevention. This is accomplished through education and promotion of life-habits that create good health. 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 conquering disease.
Our Philosophy and How You Will Benefit
1. Get to the underlying cause!
Headaches are not caused by an aspirin deficiency! You will benefit by discovering what is truly impeding your health. We will give you a complete explanation in plain English. You are encouraged to ask as many questions as you like.
Ask yourself this question, do you feel balanced? It is only when the body, mind and spirit are in balance that true healing can occur. It is our goal to help you find balance in a world so seemingly out of balance.
3. Personalized health care
You are unique. Why should your health care be any different? Every treatment plan is individualized to address your specific needs and goals.
4. Personal responsibility
A wise healer once said, “You cannot buy health, you must earn it.” We believe each of us is ultimately responsible for our own health. We will educate, encourage and motivate you through the healing process.
5. Do what works!
We believe all forms of medical care have their place. We are not opposed to invasive or suppressive methods when necessary. However, the advantages of Naturopathic medicine are its safety, cost-effectiveness and long-term efficacy for many of today’s chronic degenerative health conditions.
6. And finally…
Health is a direct result of healthy living!