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Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
1. First do no harm - Primum no nocere
Naturopathic medicine utilizes safe, gentle and effective diagnostic techniques and treatment interventions that work with the body's physiology rather then against it. Naturopathic doctors consider three principles to avoid harming the patients.
- Only use methods and medical substances with limited risk of side effects.
- Avoid, whenever possible, the harmful suppression of symptoms.
- Acknowledge and respect the individuals healing process, use the least force necessary when designing and employing a treatment protocol.
2. Work with the healing power of nature - Vis medicatrix naturae
The human body has an inherent ability to establish, maintain and restore health. Your body will heal if given a chance. It is the Naturopathic Doctor’s duty to work synergistically with your body to remove obstacles to cure (whatever is preventing the healing process) and facilitate the road to recovery and optimal health.
3. Treat the underlying cause - Tolle Causum
Illness is a reflection of imbalances and inefficiencies throughout the body and is the result of your body's attempt to restore homeostasis. It cannot occur without a cause nor can it be cured without identification and removal of the underlying contributing factor(s). Symptoms are the body’s attempt to heal itself and thus, should not be suppressed during the course of treatment if possible. Causes of illness may occur on many levels including physical, mental/emotional and spiritual. The Naturopathic Doctor must carefully evaluate each cause fundamental to the patient’s presenting state and construct a treatment plan directed at these cause(s) rather than at symptomatic expression.
4. Treat the whole person - Tolle Totum
Health and disease are manifestations of the complex interactions within the body. The Naturopathic Doctor must look at the “whole person” when assessing the state of the individual and consider all aspects that may be out of balance and contributing to ill health. These same factors must be taken into consideration when implementing a comprehensive treatment strategy.
5. Doctor as teacher - Docere
Naturopathic Doctors work collaboratively with patients by sharing information about health, disease and the processes that contribute to either of these states. This cooperative relationship empowers the patient to take a greater role in their healing journey. The Naturopathic Doctor is merely a catalyst for healthy change; through patient education the individual learns how to make positive, healthy choices, and thus decreases their reliance on the practitioner.
6. Prevention is the best medicine
Naturopathic Doctors emphasize prevention of disease by assessing potential risk factors from heredity to susceptibility of disease based on lifestyle choices and overall health status. Appropriate naturopathic interventions are recommended to maintain health and prevent disease.