Philosophy and Principles
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing process. The practice of naturopathic medicine includes modern and traditional, scientific, and empirical methods (AANP).
The following principles are the foundation of naturopathic medical practice:
1. First, Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)
Naturopathic medicine uses therapies that are safe and effective. Since the goal is to identify and treat the cause, naturopathic physicians avoid and consider harmful, treatments that obscure the cause by suppressing symptoms.
2. The Healing Power of Nature/Innate ability to heal (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)
The human body is inherently able to restore and maintain health. The physician’s role is to support the body’s innate abilities with natural, non-toxic therapies, and to assist the patient in creating a healthy environment and lifestyle.
3. Identify and Treat the Root Cause (Tolle Causam)
Symptoms are viewed as expressions of the body’s natural attempt to heal. Naturopathic physicians seek and treat the underlying cause of a disease. The origin of disease is removed or treated so the patient can recover.
4. Treat the Whole Person (Tolle Totum)
The human body, mind and spirit are fully integrated aspects of a person’s overall being. Each patient is a unique whole, and requires individualized and comprehensive consideration for healing to occur.
5. Doctor as Teacher (Docere)
The naturopathic physician’s most important role is to empower the patient to reclaim agency over his or her own health. The physician strives to instill the patient with hope and knowledge. Ultimately, it is the patient not the physician who achieves healing.
6. Prevention – Praevenire
Naturopathic physicians shift the emphasis from fighting disease to building and maintaining good health. The ultimate goal of naturopathic medicine is prevention.