Naturopathic Medicine is a holistic style of medicine. It encourages the inherent healing capacity of the body through the use of natural therapies. These therapies are drawn from the best of traditional healing methods as well as modern medical science.
Naturopathy is built on 6 philosophical pillars:
1. First, do no harm – select the approach with the lowest potential for harm and the highest potential for healing.
2. Organisms have inherent healing capacity – the role of the doctor is to cultivate the vitality of the person and thereby facilitate healing and regeneration.
3. Resolve the root cause of disease – if the root cause of disease can be addressed, symptoms will disappear spontaneously.
4. Treat the whole person – everything is connected to everything else. When we consider one part of a person, we should always see it in its context as part of a larger whole.
5. The physician is a teacher – part of healing is empowerment. Patients should be enriched by their interactions with their doctor. They should understand themselves and their functioning better. This enables patients to become active partners in their treatment.
6. Prevention is the best cure – instead of waiting for health to deteriorate before taking action, rather actively promote wellbeing through establishing healthy habits. The doctor facilitates this process.
These 6 guiding principles could be said to form the basis of any sensible approach to medicine. What distinguishes naturopathic medicine from conventional medicine is the way in which a naturopath thinks about illness and healing. Naturopaths adhere to a therapeutic order.
This is a hierarchy of levels to intervene at, given the severity and particulars of a certain person’s ill health:
1. Identify and remove cause or obstacles
2. Establish a healthy regimen
3. Stimulate self-healing
4. Strengthen weakened systems
5. Correct structural integrity
6. Restore and regenerate
7. Address pathology
8. Suppress pathology; invasive modalities (chemo, radiation, surgery…)
The goal of Naturopathic medicine is not only the resolution of unpleasant symptoms, but rather the establishment of optimal health.