Naturopathic MedicineNature has provided us generously with everything we need to remain in good health. - Sebastian Kneipp, father of naturopathic medicine
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic Medicine is a unique system of healthcare, promoting natural healing and the prevention of disease. Doctors of Naturopathic Medicine are trained as primary care general practitioners who use a variety of non-invasive natural therapeutics to holistically treat both acute and chronic health conditions. They are guided by six Principles of Naturopathy, which emphasize a holistic and natural approach to patient care, diagnosis, management, and treatment of medical conditions.
The Principles of Naturopathic Medicine include:
Primum Non Nocere or First Do No Harm
This principle encourages Naturopathic physicians to employ the gentlest forms of medicine first, allowing the body, mind, and spirit to heal themselves. Often practitioners turn to diet, nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, fresh air, sunlight, and mental and emotional well-being before prescribing other therapies. Such an approach allows patients to take charge of their own healing process and is the most easily integrated by the body, mind, and spirit.
Vis Medicatrix Naturae or The Healing Power of Nature
Naturopathic physicians believe that the body has the inherent wisdom to heal itself. Physicians at best play a supporting role by providing proper therapies to nourish and support the system on its journey to recovery. Practitioners help to remove obstacles while the body, mind, and spirit follow their own innate path to health. In this manner, Naturopaths strive to provide whatever support is needed for healing as teachers, confidants, counselors, and cheerleaders.
Tolle Causum or Identify and Treat the Cause
Naturopathic physicians are trained to discover the true root of illness. They view symptoms as a cry for help from the body, mind, or spirit symbolizing that something has become out of balance. Focusing treatment on symptoms inhibits the body’s ability to heal itself and can even suppress this natural process. In finding the cause of illness, practitioners are able to help patients recover on a profound and lasting level.
Tolle Totum or Treat the Whole Person
Stepping back from the presenting symptoms and pathology allows Naturopaths to see the entire expression of a person. Understanding the whole of a person is crucial to comprehensive and compassionate care. They also take into account a multitude of factors affecting a patient’s daily life, including environment, stress, lifestyle, diet, nutritional status, and mental, emotional, and spiritual health in order to determine the best and most complete route of care.
Docere or Doctor as Teacher
At the core of Naturopathic Medicine is the belief that the doctor should educate the patient thoroughly about his or her health. In doing so, the patient is empowered by their new knowledge and has the ability to make better, informed choices. Naturopathic doctors strive to break down barriers between patients and physicians created by medical jargon and a false power dynamic. They firmly believe that patients are in charge of their own health.
Preventare or Prevention
Naturopathic doctors recognize prevention as a method to reduce and avoid future health issues for their patients. They believe in teaching the benefits of healthy diet and lifestyle choices, as these decisions will make a large impact on the health of the individual down the road. In this way, Naturopaths practice health-oriented rather than disease-oriented care.
How is it different from conventional medicine?
Naturopathic Physicians are required to receive the same amount of basic science and clinical science training as conventional doctors, as well as complete additional training in Botanical Medicine, Homeopathy, Physical Medicine, and Nutrition and Lifestyle Counseling. Naturopaths are the only primary care physicians trained in these modalities, making them uniquely qualified to address a wide variety of health concerns with gentle, safe, and effective therapies.
Very thankful for Dr. Liz! Starting with the root issue of food intolerance and healing the gut has proven to be really effective for me. It was a tough transition, but after a month or so of adjusting to this new approach to my nutrition, I am experiencing much better sleep and my seasonal allergies are significantly minimized, if not gone altogether!
Most importantly, I have a deeper knowledge of my body and its needs, which allows me to be in better relationship with my body and to make choices that facilitate my own happy, healthy experience. (Big fan of the digestive bitters she makes as well.) This came at the perfect time for me, when I was ready to make some lifestyle shifts — happy to be where I’m at today. Recommend!
“Every patient carries her or his own doctor inside.”