Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care system which combines modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. It uses a wide variety of therapies to treat, support and uncover the “root cause” of patient health concerns.
The focus of naturopathic care is centered on the individual, their current health (physical, emotional and spiritual), family history and lifestyle choices, all of which informs the diagnosis and treatment plan offered by a naturopathic doctor.
The philosophy of naturopathic medicine is to work with the patient to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease. In naturopathic medicine symptoms of disease are seen as warning signals of improper functioning of the body, and lifestyle habits that may interfere with your optimal level of health.
Think of it as your gateway to optimal health. From diet and exercise, to understanding your body’s unique chemistry, naturopathic medicine allows you to boost your immune system, prevent and treat chronic disease and increase your overall energy level.
Naturopathic treatment draws from a number of modalities and is tailored to the individual. Depending on the doctor’s approach and the needs of the individual patient, treatments may include: acupuncture, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, lifestyle counselling, and physical treatments such as massage, hydrotherapy and naturopathic manipulation.
THE PRINCIPLES OF NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE
Naturopathic doctors are guided by six fundamental healing principles:
- First, to do no harm, by using methods and medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effects.
- To treat the causes of disease, by identifying and removing the underlying causes of illness, rather than suppressing symptoms.
- To teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine, by sharing knowledge with patients and encouraging individual responsibility for health.
- To heal the whole person through individualized treatment, by understanding the unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors that contribute to illness, and customizing treatment protocols to the patient.
- To emphasize prevention, by partnering with the patient to assess risk factors and recommend appropriate naturopathic interventions to maintain health and prevent illness.
- To support the healing power of the body, by recognizing and removing obstacles to the body’s inherent self-healing process.