Naturopathic medicine is a method of applying medicine that has been practiced in North America for over 125 years. Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care treatment based on a patient-centered approach that emphasizes prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that support the body’s natural ability to heal and help the patient achieve sustainable health and wellness.
Naturopathic medicine involves interpreting he bodies functions type of medicine approach to healthcare, identifying the biochemical and physiological imbalances within the individual, and using natural, scientifically-proven solutions to rectify these imbalances. Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) focus on naturally occurring substances, minimally invasive methods, and the promotion of natural healing. They also emphasize illness prevention and a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Naturopathic Doctors focus not only on the symptoms but also the underlying conditions that can be responsible for causing the symptoms. Naturopathic Doctors treat the root causes of disease and address preventable risk factors, using a wide range of science-and evidence-based, natural and conventional therapies.
Naturopathic medicine focuses on an understanding of the origins of acute and chronic disease and working to support and assist the body’s natural ability to heal, getting to the root cause of what’s wrong. Naturopathic assessment, diagnosis and treatment of the individual patient are accomplished by integrating modern and traditional care which includes clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques. All therapeutic options are considered and applied to help regulate the process of disease over time rather than temporarily suppress it. Naturopathic medicine is evidence-based, informed by clinical experience, research and the individual patient’s unique health situation. Health promotion and disease prevention are a particular foundation of naturopathic medicine.
The focus of naturopathic health care is the individual, their current health condition (physical, emotional and spiritual), their family history as well as their choices of lifestyle and influences of the environment, all of which inform the naturopathic assessment, diagnosis and treatment plan offered by a Naturopathic Doctor.
Naturopathic assessment, diagnosis and treatment draws from a number of modalities (therapies) and is tailored to the individual. Treatments may include clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, physical treatments, acupuncture and Asian medicine, and lifestyle counseling.
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct form of primary health care. There are seven accredited schools of naturopathic medicine in North America.
Naturopathic medicine is based on the following principles:
- Utilization of therapies that are minimally invasive i.e., first do no harm
- The Healing power of nature
- Identification and treatment of the causes of disease
- The primary role of the doctor as the teacher
- Treatment of the whole person
- Disease prevention and health promotion
Naturopathic medicine is recommended for people of all ages and health backgrounds who want to take their body’s health into their own hands. NDs are primary health care providers and are qualified to see and treat everyone. Some NDs focus their practices into specilized areas, such as treating children or the elderly, providing adjuvant therapy for cancer support, sport-related health, digestive health, pain management, etc. The majority of NDs work in multi-disciplinary practices with health professionals from other regulated professions including for example, conventional medical doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and chiropractors.