The past 30 years has seen an extraordinary increase in consumer demand for safe, effective and cost-effective natural health care. Naturopathic medicine has emerged as the health-care profession best suited to meet this demand. Although it almost disappeared in the mid-twentieth century because of the popularity of drugs and surgery, naturopathic medicine now offers safe, effective natural therapies as a vital part of the health-care systems of North America in the twenty-first century.
Naturopathic physicians are trained in the art and science of natural health care at accredited medical colleges. Integrative partnerships between conventional medical doctors and licensed NDs are becoming more available. This cooperation makes more effective therapies available to consumers. It increases patient satisfaction in their relationships with their care providers. More people are recovering their health by adding naturopathic medicine to their health-care options.
Naturopathic Medicine needs your help. The California Naturopathic Doctors Association is working to create legislation which will make Naturopathic Medicine more accessible to those in need and allow insurance coverage of Naturopathic Medicine. If Naturopathic Medicine has helped you, please take a moment to learn more and to get involved. Please visit: www.calnd.org/advocacy
The 6 Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic physicians practice the six fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine:
- The Healing Power of Nature
Trust in the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself.
- Identify and Treat the Causes
Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause.
- First Do No Harm
Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.
- Doctor as Teacher
Educate patients in the steps to achieving and maintaining health.
- Treat the Whole Person
View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions.
Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.
Naturopathic Doctors are real doctors!
Licensed Naturopathic Doctors (N.D. or N.M.D.) have attended an accredited four-year post-graduate medical school. Licensed naturopathic doctors have passed state board exams and are primary care physicians in 16 states.Read more here...
The educational and clinical training has many similarities to that of medical doctors (MD) in the study of the western diagnosis of disease; naturopaths also have extensive training in the medicine fields of nutrition, botanicals, homeopathy, hydrotherapy and physical medicine.
Naturopathic doctors use these modalities to find the cause of illness and not merely the suppression of symptoms.
Naturopathic physicians work in private practices, hospitals, clinics and community health centers. NDs practice throughout the United States and Canada. Qualified naturopathic physicians undergo rigorous training before they become licensed health-care practitioners.
Naturopathic physicians combine the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science. Steeped in traditional healing methods, principles and practices, naturopathic medicine focuses on holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. By using protocols that minimize the risk of harm, naturopathic physicians help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health. It is the naturopathic physician’s role to identify and remove barriers to good health by helping to create a healing internal and external environment.
NDs treat all medical conditions and can provide both individual and family health care. Among the most common ailments they treat are allergies, chronic pain, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, obesity, respiratory conditions, heart disease, fertility problems, menopause, adrenal fatigue, cancer, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. NDs can perform minor surgeries, such as removing cysts or stitching up superficial wounds. However, they do not practice major surgery. NDs are trained to utilize prescription drugs, although the emphasis of naturopathic medicine is the use of natural healing agents.
As a naturopathic doctor my practice is based upon a belief in the body’s innate wisdom to heal itself. Naturopathic medicine emphasizes not the disease process, but the health process.
Healing is a dynamic experience that enables people to transform themselves from illness to wellness. Naturopathic therapeutics are used to augment this healing process.
House of Delegates Position on the definition of Naturopathic Medicine
Amended 2011 (Click here to download Definition of Naturopathic Medicine PDF).The House of Delegates position paper can also be read here.
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal
health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing
process. The practice of naturopathic medicine includes modern and traditional, scientific, and empirical methods.
The following principles are the foundation of naturopathic medical practice:
- The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae): Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in people that is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this inherent self-healing process.
- Identify and Treat the Causes (ToIle Causam): The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
- First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere): Naturopathic physicians follow three guidelines to avoid harming the patient:
1. Utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat;
2. Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms; and
3. Acknowledge, respect, and work with individuals’ self-healing process.
- Doctor as Teacher (Docere): Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
- Treat the Whole Person: Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.
- Prevention: Naturopathic physicians emphasize the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and by making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness.
Naturopathic practice includes the following diagnostic and therapeutic modalities: clinical and laboratory diagnostic testing, nutritional medicine, botanical medicine, naturopathic physical medicine (including naturopathic manipulative therapy), public health measures, hygiene, counseling, minor surgery, homeopathy, acupuncture, prescription medication, intravenous and injection therapy, and naturopathic obstetrics (natural childbirth).
-Much of this page has been reprinted with permission by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, naturopathic.org