With its roots dating back to the 1900s, formalised naturopathic medicine training has been practised around the world for two centuries now – though naturopathic modalities have in fact been around much longer than that. Despite this long history, however, its teachings have never been more relevant than in the modern age, where technology, pollution, poor diets and high stress levels take a toll on our health like never before.
Naturopathic Medicine has the potential to treat a range of lifestyle diseases as well as common maladies such as gastrointestinal conditions, asthma, skin conditions, and allergies. Whatever the condition, however, all naturopathic treatments set about to uncover the root causes of illness through a natural first approach. What’s more, naturopathic treatments aim to prevent rather than cure and look to teach patients about ways to improve their own health, rather than simply managing symptoms of disease and illness as they arise.
In essence, naturopathic medicine encompasses a number of therapeutic methods, including both modern and traditional medicines such as botanical medicine, counselling, homeopathy, acupuncture, IV therapy and nutritional therapy. Naturopathic medicine is a science-based approach to the integration of complementary therapies into a modern medical framework, and today naturopathic physicians are trained and licensed as primary care physicians. The core naturopathic principles include (source: AANP):
Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam): The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere): Naturopathic physicians follow three guidelines to avoid harming the patient:
Doctor as Teacher (Docere): Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
Treat the Whole Person: Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.
Prevention: Naturopathic physicians emphasize the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and by making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness.