Naturopathic medicine is a branch of alternative medicine based on the idea that the body has an innate capacity to heal itself. Naturopathic medicine improves health and address illness by treating the person holistically, tapping a person's own internal body, mind and spirit.
Naturopathic medicine is distinguished by the principles which underlie and determine its practice. These principles are based upon the objective observation of the nature of health and illness, and are continually reexamined in the light of scientific advances. Methods used are consistent with these principles and are chosen upon the basis of client individuality.
1. First Do No Harm Naturopathic doctors utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful effects.
2. Doctor as Teacher The original meaning of the word "doctor" is teacher. A principal objective of naturopathic medicine is to educate the client and emphasize self-responsibility for health. Naturopathic Doctors also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-client relationship.
3. Find and treat the underlying cause Doctors in naturopathic medicine are trained to identify and remove the underlying cause of illness, rather than suppressing symptoms.
4. Treat the Whole Person Health and illness result from a complex of physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development. Naturopathic medicine recognizes the harmonious functioning of all aspects of the individual as being essential to health. The multifactorial nature of health and disease requires a personalized and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment. Naturopathic Doctors treat the whole person, taking all of these factors into account.
5. Support the healing power of the body Doctor in naturopathic medicine are trained to recognize and remove the obstacles to the body's inherent self-healing process.
6. Prevention Naturopathic medical colleges emphasize the study of health as well as illness. The prevention of illness and the attainment of optimal health in clients are primary objectives of naturopathic medicine. In practice, these objectives are accomplished through education and the promotion of healthy ways of living. Naturopathic doctors assess risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to illness, and make appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness. Naturopathic medicine asserts that one cannot be healthy in an unhealthy environment and is committed to the creation of a world in which humanity may thrive.