Naturopathic medicine (also called “naturopathy”) is a system of primary health care which uses holistic and natural methods to prevent and treat illness. Naturopathic medicine follows these fundamental principles to help you heal in ways that are in accordance with the normal processes of Nature:
- Vis Medicatrix Naturae (the healing power of nature):
This principle recognizes that within each person is a vital energy than can help them to heal naturally. It is Nature that cures, and the physician’s role is to help foster the conditions in which the curative properties of Nature can be encouraged within each person.
- Tolle Causam (identify and treat the cause):
This principle focuses on the importance of finding and addressing the cause of disease rather than simply treating or masking symptoms. Naturopathic physicians are trained to find and treat the root of an illness and to remove any obstacles to the natural healing process that may exist in the person.
- Treat the individual:
This principal recognizes that each person is a unique individual and will manifest both health and illness in a unique way. Because of this, each person’s treatment should be tailored to the unique way that illness manifests in them. Rather than giving everyone who has a similar disease the same treatment, each individual’s treatment will be tailored specifically to the particular way that illness manifests in them.
- Holistic approach:
This principle emphasizes the value that naturopathic physicians place on treating the person as a whole, not just as a collection of their body parts or symptoms. The best, most effective, and longest lasting treatments address all aspects of being — physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual — as they manifest together in each individual.
This principle recognizes that while seeking to optimize their patient’s health today, the naturopathic physician should also not forget to look ahead to prevent future illness or future recurrence of a present illness. By paying careful attention to a patient’s symptoms and family history, thoroughly reviewing laboratory findings, and properly examining each patient’s physical, mental and emotional states, the naturopath can be proactive in helping their patient to prevent illness from occurring.
- Primum non nocere (first do no harm):
This principle stresses the importance that naturopathic physicians place on using treatments that will be the least invasive and have the fewest side effects. Treatment methods such as diet, nutrients, foods, herbs, homeopathic remedies, hands-on bodywork, counseling, therapeutic exercise, and so forth have little risk of doing harm to the patient as well as working to eliminate disease and promote health.
- Docere (doctor as teacher):
The word “Doctor” in Latin translates literally as “Teacher.” As naturopathic physicians offer guidance and education to patients, their patients become empowered to make healthier choices based on correct knowledge and understanding of how those choices affect their health. This, in turn, enables each person to take control and be the co-creator of his or her own health