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What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic Medicine is a unique and comprehensive approach to healing, based on the belief that the human body has the ability to heal itself. If our bodies can heal itself, why are so many people suffering with chronic illness? There are many reasons and Naturopathic Doctors are trained to identify these obstacles, narrowing in on the underlying causes that are preventing healing from occurring. We support and optimize our patient’s health by addressing the underlying causes, and stimulating the bodies natural healing potential.
Licensed Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are trained in all aspects of family medicine, with the skills to manage a broad range of health conditions affecting people of all ages. Naturopathic doctors teach their patients to use diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and science based natural therapies to enhance their bodies’ ability to experience greater health and well being. Through a comprehensive and personalized approach, Naturopathic Doctors identify the most effective therapies that blend the best of modern medical science and traditional natural medical approaches to not only treat disease, but to also restore health.
Here’s an informative article titled Naturopathic Medicine: What Can Patients Expect?
Naturopathic Physician’s Oath
I dedicate myself to the service of humanity as a practitioner of the art and science of Naturopathic medicine.
I will honor my teachers and all who have preserved and developed this knowledge, and dedicate myself to supporting the growth and evolution of Naturopathic medicine.
I will endeavor to continually improve my abilities as a healer through study, reflection, and genuine concern for humanity.
I will impart knowledge of the advanced healing arts to dedicated colleagues and students.
Through precept, lecture, and example, I will assist and encourage others to strengthen their health, reduce risks for disease, and preserve the health of our planet for ourselves, our families, and future generations.
According to my best ability and judgment, I will use methods of treatment, which follow the principles of Naturopathic medicine:
- First of all, to do no harm.
- To act in cooperation with the Healing Power of Nature.
- To address the fundamental causes of disease.
- To heal the whole person through individualized treatment.
- To teach the principles of healthy living and preventive medicine.
I will conduct my life and the practice of Naturopathic health care with vigilance, integrity, and freedom from prejudice.
I will abstain from voluntary acts of injustice and corruption.
I will keep confidential whatever I am privileged to witness, whether professionally or privately, that should not be divulged.
With my whole heart, before this gathering of witnesses, as a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, I pledge to remain true to this oath.
These principles form the characteristic foundation and core of Naturopathic medicine. Naturopathic physicians aim to integrate every one of these principles into all aspects of diagnosis and treatment.
- The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae): In every living organism there exists an inherent ability of the body, mind and spirit to heal itself. Naturopathic physicians stimulate this innate healing power by using methods that are in harmony with this natural process.
- First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere): Naturopathic physicians choose the least invasive, most non-toxic treatment, which will restore health. This minimizes harmful side effects and avoids the simple suppression of symptoms.
- Identify and Treat the Cause of Disease (Tolle Causam): Whereas conventional medicine focuses on alleviating symptoms, Naturopathic medicine uses these symptoms as a guide to identify the underlying cause of illness. It is only through removal of the cause that complete health can be restored.
- Treat the Whole Person: Disease process results from a complex interaction of mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, genetic, social and environmental factors. Naturopathic physicians consider all of these factors in each patient, in order to most optimally individualize treatment of the whole person.
- Emphasize Prevention: At no other time in history has preventive medicine been so critical to one’s health as it is today. In today’s world, more stressors are impinging upon our lives than ever before, from hectic lifestyles to toxins present in our food, air and water. Naturopathic Physicians teach their patients how to avoid these stressors, thereby helping them maximize health and prevent chronic disease.
- Doctor as Teacher (Docere): Naturopathic Physicians act as guides for their patients, empowering them to take responsibility for their own health. As teachers, they help the patient fully understand their disease process and the rationale for treatments prescribed.
A licensed naturopathic physician (N.D./ N.M.D.) attends a four-year graduate-level naturopathic medical school and is educated in all of the same basic sciences as an M.D., but also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician is required to complete four years of training in clinical nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and counseling (to encourage people to make lifestyle changes in support of their personal health). A naturopathic physician takes rigorous professional board exams so that he or she may be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care general practice physician. Please see the AANMC’s Professional Competency Profile for more information.