Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine originated in the early 20th Century by a
group of therapists who believed in the healing power of nature. Based
on the belief of the body’s inherent ability to heal itself,
naturopathic medicine tries to stimulate health by facilitating the
body’s healing process through various measures. What makes
naturopathic medicine so distinctive is its integrative approach;
borrowing from many alternative medical practices, naturopathic
physicians are usually trained in conventional medicine and utilize
modern diagnostic equipment and level of care. In addition to treatment
of disease, naturopathic medicine also practices preventative care such
as nutrition modification and vitamin supplements.

There are
six underlying principles to naturopathic medicine which are said to
distinguish it from other disciplines and practices. The first concept
is that of the healing power of nature which is the belief in the
body’s capacity to heal itself and maintains that the role of the
naturopathic physician is to remove obstacles to healing and create a
healthy environment in which healing can occur. Secondly, naturopathic
medicine looks to identify and eliminate the cause of illness rather
than merely treating the symptoms. Symptoms are said to be indicators
of the body’s attempt to heal itself and should not be suppressed by
treatment, only by curing the cause. The next concept of “first do no
harm” is part of the Hippocratic oath taken upon receiving a medical
license, but in the case of naturopathic medicine, also applies to
suppressing symptoms in a sick patient which is thought to counter
effective treatment.

Next, naturopathic medicine
takes a holistic approach and examines all factors of an individual’s
environment, genetic makeup and emotional state. In order for the body
to heal itself effectively, an optimal state of mental and physical
comfort is important for the mind body connection. The fifth element of
naturopathic medicine is that the doctor acts as an educator; informing
and empowering patients to live the most healthy, well balanced life
possible. In this case, the doctor/patient relationship becomes more of
an effective mentorship, enabling a person to make better choices on a
daily basis. Lastly, prevention is the best cure according to the
principles of naturopathic medicine and a healthy lifestyle with the
elimination of serious risk factors is the first step to a long healthy

Naturopathic medicine offers a discipline which
combines conventional medicine with alternative healing practices such
as homeopathy, acupuncture and nutrition therapy to provide a
multi-faceted approach to healthcare.