Naturopathic medicine is a balance of age-old natural therapies and conventional medicine. Naturopathic physicians are trained in the same basic sciences as conventional physicians, but have additional focus on preventive medicine and finding the root cause of health problems. Naturopathic physicians receive extensive training in botanical medicine, pharmacology, nutrition, physical medicine, psychology and laboratory evaluation. In Oregon, Naturopathic physicians are licensed as full-scope primary care physicians and are an excellent choice for care of your entire family.
A treatment plan given by a Naturopathic physician may include pharmaceutical medications, botanical products, nutritional guidance, lifestyle changes, exercise recommendations, homeopathy, or hydrotherapy. It is common practice to refer to specialists and other practitioners when appropriate.
Naturopathic training involves six principles that are the distinguishing marks of the profession.
- The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae): Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in the human body that is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this inherent self-healing process.
- Identify and Treat the Causes (ToIle Causam): The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms. These symptoms are the body’s way of communicating a problem.
- First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere):Naturopathic physicians follow three guidelines to avoid harming the patient:
- Utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat;
- Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms; and
- Acknowledge, respect, and work with individuals’ self-healing process.
- 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.
Reference: American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP)