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What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct form of health care which employs the use of both modern, scientific and traditional forms of assessment, diagnostics and treatment.
What are the principles of Naturopathic Medicine?
There are seven fundamental principles that guide the practice of Naturopathic Medicine. These principles distinguish the naturopathic approach from the conventional or allopathic approach to patient care.
The Healing Power of Nature Vis Medicatrix Naturae
Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self healing process in the body which is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to recovery and to facilitate and augment this healing ability.
First Do No Harm Primum Non Nocere Naturopathic medicine follows three principles to avoid harming the patient:
1) utilize methods and medical substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects 2) avoid, when possible, the harmful suppression of symptoms 3) acknowledge and respect the individual’s healing process, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat illness.
Doctor as Teacher Docere
The original meaning of the word “doctor” is teacher. One of the main objectives of naturopathic medicine is to educate the patient and emphasize self –responsibility for health. Naturopathic doctors also acknowledge the therapeutic value of the doctor- patient relationship.
Naturopathic doctors emphasize disease prevention, assessment of risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease and making appropriate interventions to prevent illness. Naturopathic medicine strives to create a healthy world in which humanity may thrive.
Find the Cause Tolle Causam
Underlying causes of illness must be identified and removed before complete recovery can occur. The naturopathic doctor seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness, rather than to eliminate or merely suppress symptoms.
Treat the Whole PersonTolle Totum
Naturopathic doctors treat each individual by taking into account physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic doctorss encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.
Wellness follows the establishment and maintenance of optimum health and balance. Wellness is a state of being healthy, characterized by positive emotion, thought and action. Wellness is inherent in everyone, no matter what dis-ease(s) is/are being experienced. (This principle was adopted by Bastyr University and added to the original six principles).
How are Naturopathic Doctors trained?
Naturopathic Doctors are trained in primary care and complete 8 – 10 years of training including a 4-year undergraduate pre-medical degree; 4 – 5 years of standard medical and clinical science training in a naturopathic doctoral program with clinical rotations in public and private clinics. A naturopathic doctor subsequently takes rigorous professional board exams so that he or she may be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care, general practice doctor. Licensed ND's must also Meet the Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits as required by the provincial regulatory boards on an ongoing basis.
References: Bastyr University Catalog Positional Papers/ Organizational documents of the the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND)