Naturopathic medicine is steeped in the following ancient principles:
- First Do No Harm
- Doctor as Teacher
- Find and Treat the Root Cause(s)
- Prevention is the Best medicine
- Treat the Whole Person
- Healing Power of Nature
These six principles make up the philosophy of Naturopathic medicine, and are a foundational tenet to the medicine that sets Naturopathic doctors (N.D.s) apart from other health care providers. I found in my naturopathic education, that these were infused into all of our courses at school. I frequently and fondly recall reciting these principles as I took my oath on graduation day, and I continually return to them as I practice.
- FIRST DO NO HARM (Primum Non Nocere) – surgery and pharmaceuticals have their place, but less invasive measures can also be used to stimulate the body’s innate healing ability
- DOCTOR AS TEACHER (Docere) – the doctor serves as a guide, hoping to instill inspiration and provide education and empowerment for the patient
- FIND AND TREAT THE ROOT CAUSE(S) (Tolle Causam) – once the doctor can uncover these and remove any ‘obstacles to cure,’ the patient can improve vitality and heal
- PREVENTION IS THE BEST MEDICINE – this is the best health insurance that exists!
- TREAT THE WHOLE PERSON – a comprehensive approach to the entire person will increase the likelihood of longer lasting healing. We are not just a lung, or a kidney, or a sinus infection.
- HEALING POWER OF NATURE- the body has a vital force, or “Qi” and the doctor can read for signs and patterns to know the disease is moving in or exiting.
I often tell patients that it is impossible to grasp how a Naturopathic Doctor works unless they can work with one and experience the process firsthand. Our medical degree is unique, as it allows us to stand “between worlds”- that of conventional medicine and that of natural health. Having enough education to comprehend both paradigms of medicine allows us, the N.D., to make an informed decision as to when to use a natural medicine (botanical (herbal) medicine, nutrition, homeopathy, vitamin/ nutraceutical) as the intervention, or when an allopathic, or more conventional treatment is indicated.
Here is a great video describing the naturopathic principles and approach.