1.) Vis Medicatrix Naturae
The healing power of nature.
As a student of Naturopathic Medicine, this first principle is one of the the primary differentiation points between alternative and conventional medicine. Naturopathic medicine is deeply rooted in the philosophy of body’s inherent ability to heal itself, and maintain health, despite the stresses that each of us can endure on a daily basis. Naturopaths also believe that there is a further healing power through nature, whether it be medicinal plants and their constituents, vitamins, minerals, water therapy, or whole-food nutrition, to name a few.
2.) Primum Non Nocere
First, do no harm.
Naturopaths believe that through low force interventions, such as: lifestyle changes, diet, exercise, and increased water intake, dramatic effects and changes on a person’s overall well being can be promoted. One of the first things that come to mind is, Naturopaths try to avoid suppression of symptoms. Just as a quick example, this could be avoiding the suppression of a fever, which when monitored correctly, could be able to run its course to allow the body to heal itself.
3.) Tolle Causam
Treat the cause.
Rather than the treatment of symptoms and treatment of disease, Naturopaths believe that by addressing the root cause of the problem, a greater sense of health and well being is able to be achieved. This essentially can make for a healthier population overall, as well as future generations.
4.) Tolle Totum
Treat the whole person.
Simply put: I am more than the sum of my parts. For a person to be “unwell,” it does not mean that their right thumb, their lungs, or their stomach is seen in isolation. Disease can manifest through mental, emotional, or physical realms, each one interplaying with other aspects of a person. Naturopaths believe that a person’s mental and emotional aspects of a disease process are not disconnected from his or her illness, since everything is intertwined. Further, treating the whole person not only addresses treating an individual, but also his or her family members, and even his or her community. Naturopathic medicine excells in treating patients individually, without putting them into “boxes” and only looking at symptoms, since each person is recognized as very complex, with many intricacies.
Doctor as teacher.
The goal of a Naturopath is to get his or her patient well (if they are sick), and keep them well. Through patient education, promotion of generalized health, rather than treatment of disease, is upheld. If a Naturopath can teach his or her patients how to take care of their own bodies, not only is a great doctor-patient relationship is created, but it also empowers the patient to be in control of his or her own health and well being.
Naturopathic Medicine not only looks to treat a patient for current illnesses, but also to prevent future diseases from occurring. Lifestyle changes would be the major way to optimize health and prevent disease. Even if a person is predisposed to certain genetic or familial inherited diseases, by living a healthy lifestyle, many of these common diseases in our society today can be subdued, or even eliminated.
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