The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well.
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a system of medicine that focuses on prevention and treatment of disease by using various natural healing methods such as, but not limited to: nutritional medicine, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulative therapy, minor surgery, homeopathy, laboratory and clinical diagnosis, IV therapies, Injection therapies, and therapeutic exercise. The philosophy is based on using minimal interventions necessary to restore health.
The term naturopathy was invented in the 1900’s by a German named Benedict Lust, who was cured of Tuberculosis by the use of hydrotherapy (water therapy). Although the term was invented then, naturopathic medicine’s roots are deep, as they can be traced back to many traditional and indigenous world medicines.
Naturopathic Philosophy and Principles
Naturopathic medicine places a major emphasis on its principles and philosophy; as these guide the practitioner as to how to treat the patient. Naturopathy’s main principle recognizes the body’s own ability to heal itself known as Vis Medicatrix Naturae, which translates as the healing power of nature. The goal of a Naturopathic Physician is to assist in the restoration of health by creating a healing environment for the body utilizing rest, water, fresh air, proper nutrition, exercise/movement, etc.
Symptoms are often the body’s cry that something is out of balance. Rather than suppressing symptoms, Naturopathic medicine seeks to find the root cause of the illness and support the body’s own healing process.
Naturopathic Medicine’s Six Principles:
- Vis Medicatrix Naturae (The healing power of nature)
- Tolle Causam (Address the underlying cause of ill health)
- Primum Non Nocere (First do no harm – use the least invasive treatment as necessary)
- Docere (Doctor as teacher – educate and encourage the patient’s responsibility for one’s own health.
- Tolle Totum (Treat the whole person – not only addressing the physical body but also mentally, emotionally, spiritually)
- Preventare (Prevention of disease through implementing lifestyle changes)
Naturopathic Medical Education
A licensed Naturopathic Doctor attends 1 of 6 accredited Naturopathic Medical schools in the US and Canada and the curriculum is based on a 4-year graduate-level program. Naturopathic medical education is similar to conventional medical education as it’s the foundation is in learning the basic sciences, but differs in that it requires intense study in natural healing methods. Upon graduation, a Naturopathic Physician must pass a national board exam and accomplish continuing education to be licensed in many states.