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Naturopathic Principles

 

The Principles of Naturopathic Medicine


The naturopathic profession is unified by a philosophy, not simply by the therapeutic modalities it uses. Naturopathic medicine is distinct from the standard medicine of the Canadian/American Medical Associations, Osteopathy and Chiropractic profession.
The following six principles guide practitioners of naturopathic medicine:

Vis Medicatrix Naturae - The Healing Power of Nature
Within each body exists an inherent ability to heal itself. It is the naturopathic physician"s role to support this process. Naturopathic doctors recognize an ordered and intelligent self-healing process that is innate to each individual. For example, naturopathic medicine views a fever as the body"s way of increasing its temperature to stimulate its immune system and fight off the pathogenic disturbance causing disease. A naturopathic doctor would provide treatment to support the fever, rather than suppress it.

Tolle Causam - Identify and Treat the Cause
The primary goal of a naturopathic doctor is to determine and treat the underlying cause rather than simply manage or suppress symptoms. Symptoms are viewed as expressions of the body"s natural attempt to heal. For example, conventional medicine generally treats arthritis with pain killers or anti-inflammatories in an attempt to lessen the pain itself. A naturopath works to discover the root cause of the pain - perhaps due to an imbalanced immune system, nutritional sensitivity or deficiency, a past injury or an emotional connection.

Primum Non Nocere - First Do No Harm
Naturopathic medicine achieves this by: 1) utilizing methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects, 2) avoiding, when possible, the harmful suppression of symptoms, and 3) acknowledging and respecting the individual"s healing process, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat illness.

Docere - Doctor As Teacher
Education and understanding provides the patient with the power to take responsibility for his or her own health. Naturopathic doctors work collaboratively with patients by sharing knowledge and information to create successful treatment plans. Healing does not occur because of an outside source. Ultimately, it is the patient who heals him or herself.

Prevention
Health is more than just the absence of disease. Health entails daily functioning on the highest possible levels, and is obtained by proper nutrition, exercise, a balanced lifestyle, positive emotions, thoughts, and actions. A naturopathic doctor applies all of the above principles in a proactive form of disease prevention and health promotion.

Treat the Whole Person
Each person is unique and requires individualized care. In treating the cause of any condition naturopathic doctors take into account not only your physical symptoms, but also mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, spiritual and other factors. Disease affects the entire person, not just a specific organ or system. Your nutritional status, lifestyle, family history, feelings, environmental stresses, and physical health are all carefully evaluated and addressed. As Hippocrates said,

"It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has."

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