What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is based on the belief that the human body has an innate healing ability. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) teach their patients to use diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, and cutting edge natural therapies to enhance their bodies’ ability to ward off and combat disease.  NDs recognize the whole person as a complex, interrelated system, not simply a clogged artery or a tumor. They develop comprehensive treatment plans that blend the best of modern medical science and traditional natural medical approaches to not only treat disease, but also restore health.

Naturopathic doctors base their practice on six timeless principles founded on medical tradition and scientific evidence:

  1. Let nature heal. Our bodies have a powerful, innate instinct for self-healing. By finding and removing the barriers to this self-healing—such as poor diet or unhealthy habits—NDs can help patients to nurture this process.
  2. Identify and treat causes. NDs understand that symptoms will return unless the root illness is addressed. They seek to find and treat the cause of these symptoms.
  3. First, do no harm. NDs follow three precepts to ensure their patients’ safety:
    • Use low-risk procedures and healing compounds—such as dietary supplements, herbal extracts and homeopathy—with few or no side effects.
    • When possible, do not suppress symptoms, which are the body’s efforts to self-heal. For example, the body may cook up a fever in reaction to a bacterial infection. Fever creates an inhospitable environment for the harmful bacteria, thereby destroying it. Of course, the ND would not allow the fever to get dangerously high.
    • Customize each diagnosis and treatment plan to fit each patient. We all heal in different ways, and the ND respects our differences. 
  4. Educate patients. Naturopathic medicine believes that doctors must be educators, as well as doctors. That’s why NDs teach their patients how to eat, exercise, relax and nurture themselves physically and emotionally. They also encourage personal responsibility and work closely (to support) with each patient.
  5. Treat the whole person. We each have a unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, sexual and spiritual makeup. The ND knows that all these factors affect our health and addresses them in a carefully tailored treatment strategy.
  6. Prevent illness. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" has never been truer.  Preventive medicine saves money, pain, misery and lives. That’s why NDs evaluate risk factors, heredity and vulnerability to disease. By getting therapy for greater wellness, we’re less likely to need treatment for future illness.

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