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Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct profession of primary health care, emphasizing prevention, treatment and the promotion of optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and modalities, which encourage the body’s own self-healing process, the vis medicatrix naturæ. The philosophical approach of naturopathic medicine includes prevention of disease, encouragement of the body's inherent healing abilities, natural treatment of the whole person, personal responsibility for one's health, and education of patients in health-promoting lifestyles. Naturopathic practice blends centuries-old knowledge of natural, nontoxic therapies with current advances in the understanding of health and human systems.

Naturopathic diagnosis and therapeutics are supported by scientific research drawn from peer-reviewed journals from many disciplines, including naturopathic medicine, conventional medicine, European complementary medicine, clinical nutrition, phytotherapy, pharmacognosy, homeopathy, psychology and spirituality. Information technology and new concepts in clinical outcomes assessment are particularly well suited to evaluating the effectiveness of naturopathic treatment protocols and are being used in research, both at naturopathic medical schools and in the offices of practicing physicians. Clinical research into natural therapies has become an increasingly important focus for naturopathic physicians.

The scope of practice includes all aspects of family and primary care, from pediatrics to geriatrics, and all natural medicine modalities.

Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

First Do No Harm Primum Non Nocere
Doctors of Naturopathic Medicine prefer non-invasive treatments, which minimize the risks of harmful side effects. Like all general practitioners, naturopathic doctors are trained to refer to specialists when necessary.

The Healing Power of Nature Vis Medicatrix Naturae
The healing power of nature is the inherent healing process of living systems, which establishes, maintains and restores health. Naturopathic medicine recognizes the healing process to be ordered and intelligent. It is the naturopathic doctor’s role to support, facilitate and augment this process, to identify and remove obstacles to health and recovery, and to support the creation of a healthy internal and external environment.

Identify and Treat the Causes Tolle Causam
Every illness has an underlying cause, often in aspects of the lifestyle, diet or habits of the individual. Symptoms can be expressions of the body’s attempt to heal itself, to defend, adapt and recover, or may be results of the causes of dis-ease. The naturopathic doctor seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness, rather than to eliminate or merely suppress symptoms.

Doctor as Teacher Docere
The original meaning of the word “doctor” is teacher. A principle objective of naturopathic medicine is to educate the patient and emphasize self-responsibility for health. Naturopathic doctors also recognize and acknowledge the therapeutic value of the doctor-patient relationship.

Treat the Whole Person
Naturopathic doctors recognize that an individual is comprised of a multitude of facets; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, and it is by addressing all of these aspects that healing on the deepest level is able to occur.

Naturopathic doctors emphasize disease prevention, assessment of risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease and recommend appropriate interventions to prevent illness. Naturopathic medicine strives to create a healthy world in which humanity may thrive.

Wellness follows the establishment and maintenance of optimum health and balance. Wellness is a state of being healthy, characterized by positive emotion, thought and action. Wellness is inherent in everyone, no matter what dis-ease(s) is/are being experienced. If wellness is really recognized and experienced by an individual, it will more quickly heal a given dis-ease than direct treatment of the disease alone.


Professional Member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians

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Copyright © 2002 Dr. Lisa Anne Arnold