Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health
care—an art, science, philosophy and practice of diagnosing,
treating and preventing disease. Six principles of healing
form the foundation of naturopathic medical practice:
The body has the inherent ability not only to heal itself and
restore health, but also to ward off disease.
Health and, consequently, disease result from a complex
interaction of physical, mental emotional, genetic, spiritual,
environmental, social, and other factors. Harmonious
functioning is required for health. Imbalance in one part
directly affects (may cause dis-ease in) other parts of the
whole. There is rarely a single cause for disease. All of
the “pieces” must be integrated to create the whole picture
of an individual and develop the appropriate therapy.
Respecting the inherent ability of the body to heal itself, the physician must be mindful of the consequences or side effects of treatment. The more gentle and non-invasive the therapy, the less disruptive it will be to the patient’s integral whole. Whenever possible, suppression of symptoms is avoided to reduce interference with the healing process.
Illness does not occur without cause, and symptoms are not the cause of illness. When only the symptoms are treated, the underlying causes remain, and the patient may develop a more serious, chronic disease.
Health is a reflection of how we choose to live. Physicians help patients recognize their choices and how those choices affect their health. The physician assesses risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease and makes appropriate intervention to prevent illness.
The original meaning of the word “doctor” was “teacher”. A physician is a facilitator for a patient’s healing process. A principal responsibility includes the education of the patient as well as encouragement towards self-responsibility for health.