What gives naturopathic medicine so much success and what sets it apart from different healing modalities, is its principles:
1. The Healing Power of Nature: Vis Medicatrix Naturae
Naturopathic doctors believe and trust in the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself. Our bodies are beautifully complex beings, of which we only understand a small fraction of. Therefore, we want to support the body, not suppress it. We act to identify and remove obstacles to cure in order to augment this inherent self-healing process that is in alignment with nature.
2. Identify and Treat the Cause: Tolle causum
Naturopathic doctors aim to identify and treat the underlying cause of illness, rather than treat symptoms. This means treating the person rather than the disease. The goal is to understand why your body, with its innate wisdom, is reacting the way it is. We just have to listen.
3. First Do No Harm: Primum Non Nocere
After we understand a person’s innate healing abilities and get down to the cause, its time to take some action! We utilize medicinal substances and modalities that minimize the risk of harmful side effects, use least force necessary for diagnosis and treatment, avoid suppression of symptoms, and especially relevant, respect and work with your self-healing process.
4. Doctor as Teacher: Docere
Naturopathic doctors believe in educating and sharing knowledge with their patients to encourage self-responsibility in health while promoting community well-being. We want to work as a team with you and your values to help you grow and thrive.
5. Treat the Whole Person: Tolle Totem
Naturopathic doctors believe and treat each person by considering their whole being: mind, body, and spirit. Therefore, each patient receives individualized treatment. Individual treatment takes into account the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and environmental/social facets of that person.
6. Prevention: Defendere
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” Naturopathic doctors emphasize disease prevention by assessing risk factors and susceptibility. We then make appropriate interventions in partnership with patients to prevent illness.
The history of naturopathic medicine comes from the 19thcentury European practice Nature Cureand the principles and practice of homeopathy, the first research based medicine to exist. Nature Cure, a studied and perfected method, uses various forms of water (hydrotherapy), diet, fresh air, and hygiene to support and tonify the healing abilities of the body in order to successfully treat and cure disease. It originated from key figures, Vincenz Priessnitz from Austria and Father Kneipp from Germany in the 18thand 19thcentury (Ko, 2016). It was brought to the US in the 20thcentury by Benedict Lust. Lust created the first naturopathic medical school in the US.
Naturopathic Medicine Licensure:
A licensed Naturopathic doctor (ND) attends a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school with rigorous training. While we are educated in the same basic sciences as conventional medical doctors (MD), we also complete training in homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, physical medicine, hydrotherapy, clinical nutrition, counseling, minor surgery, and pharmacology. A naturopathic doctor completes rigorous basic science and clinical boards at the end of their training in order to be licensed by a state of jurisdiction as a physician.