Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary healthcare that combines modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine to support and stimulate the healing power of the body. Determining the underlying cause of illness leading to conditions and symptoms and treating the cause is a fundamental naturopathic philosophy. Symptoms of disease are viewed as warning signals of improper body functioning and unfavourable lifestyle habits. Naturopathic medicine emphasizes disease as a process rather than as an entity. Addressing this process involves education, guidance and support, and active participation of the patient in the pursuit of reaching their health potential.
The Principles of Naturopathic Medicine guide naturopathic doctors and outline the naturopathic approach to health and healing, forming the foundation of this unique form of health care.
1. First, do no harm
Utilize therapies that are the least invasive, minimize harmful side effects and avoid suppressing symptoms, where possible.
2. Support the healing power of nature
Recognize the inherent healing ability of the body and respect the individual’s healing process. Identify and remove obstacles to recovery.
3. Identify and treat the cause
Determine and treat the underlying cause of illness rather than managing or suppressing symptoms.
4. Treat the whole person through individualized care
Each person is unique and requires individualized care. Illness affects the entire person, thus physical, mental, emotional, social and environmental factors contributing to illness must also be taken into account.
5. Primary role of doctor as teacher
Assist in understanding health and illness and the factors that affect health, helping the patient to balance and become more capable of maintaining their own health.
6. Disease prevention and health promotion
Health is more than the absence of disease. Health involves day-to-day functioning on the highest possible levels. Naturopathic doctors emphasize daily healthy habits to promote health, assess risk factors and disease susceptibility and utilize appropriate interventions to prevent illness proactively.