What is Naturopathy?
The healing techniques of the naturopathic doctor weave the modern and traditional with the scientific and empirical. At the core of the naturopathic philosophy is the healing power of nature and the aim is to rouse the body’s incredible power to heal itself. Shedding the sword of the surgeon’s scalpel, the naturopathic doctor focuses on cleansing and strengthening the body to address and prevent both chronic and acute dis-ease with the guidance of these six principles:
The Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
1. The healing power of nature (Vis medicatrix naturae)
Respect for nature includes honoring our fellow human beings, and our bodies’ powerful natural healing processes. Naturopathic treatments work in harmony with the body’s immune system, to increase strength and vitality.
2. First, do no harm (Primum non nocere)
The approaches used in naturopathic medicine are focused on being safe and non-invasive, with a minimal risk of side effects.
3. Find and treat the cause (Tolle Causum)
Naturopathic doctors honor symptoms as the body’s way of communicating deeper problems. We generally do not treat the symptoms themselves, as this would be analogous to fixing the “check engine” light on one’s car, instead of checking and fixing the engine. When the cause of an illness is addressed appropriately, the symptoms are addressed as well.
4. Treat the whole person (Tolle Totum)
Each patient is unique in their own life experiences as well as their genetics, and disease manifests differently in individuals. Each patient has his or her unique dynamic of physical, emotional, and mental interactions. When these interactions are out of balance, one’s susceptibility to disease, as well as one’s ability to fight disease, is impacted. Naturopathic medicine seeks to balance the body’s physical, emotional, and mental interactions with the appropriate natural medicines and treatment.
5. Prevent disease (Prevenir)
If we all take responsibility for our life situations, lifestyles, habits and patterns, we can begin to recognize imbalances, and work to change them for the better. Naturopathic doctors work with patients to help determine areas needing attention and change, to help prevent minor illnesses from developing into more serious or chronic degenerative diseases.
6. Physician as teacher (Docere)
Disease not only encourages our bodies’ innate healing abilities, but also allows us to open up and accept the help and love of others. Naturopathic physicians work to educate patients about their bodies and how to live more healthy lifestyles, so that healing may occur. When this interaction takes place, healing occurs, and we can share the experience and compassion, and catalyze the healing process in others.