The practice of naturopathic medicine emerges from six principles of healing:
The healing power of nature
The body has the inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. The healing process is ordered and intelligent; nature heals through the response of the life force. The doctor’s role is to facilitate and augment this process, to identify and remove obstacles to health and recovery, and to support the creation of a healthy internal and external environment.
Identify and treat the cause
Illness does not occur without cause. Underlying causes of disease need to be discovered and removed or treated before a person can recover completely from illness. Symptoms are expressions of the body’s attempt to heal, but are not the cause of disease; therefore, naturopathic medicine addresses itself primarily to the underlying causes of disease, rather than to the symptoms. Causes may occur on many levels, including physical, mental-emotional, and spiritual. The doctor’s goal is to evaluate fundamental underlying causes on multiple levels, directing treatment at root causes as well as seeking relief of symptoms.
First do no harm
The process of healing includes the generation of symptoms, which are, in fact, expressions of the life force attempting to heal itself. Therapeutic actions should be complementary to and synergistic with this healing process. Interventions can inherently support or antagonize the body’s natural ability to heal; therefore, methods designed to suppress symptoms without removing underlying causes are considered harmful and are avoided or minimized.
Treat the whole person
Health and disease are conditions of the whole organism, involving a complex interaction of physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, and social factors. The goal is to treat the whole person by taking all of these factors into account. The harmonious functioning of all aspects of the individual is essential to recovery from and prevention of disease, and requires a personalized and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment.
Doctor as teacher
Beyond an accurate diagnosis and appropriate prescription, the doctor works to create a healthy, sensitive interpersonal relationship with the patient. A cooperative doctor-patient relationship has inherent therapeutic value. The doctor’s major role is to educate and encourage the patient to take responsibility for his or her own health. The doctor is a catalyst for healthful change, empowering and motivating the patient to assume responsibility. It is the patient, not the doctor, who ultimately creates or accomplishes healing.
The ultimate goal of naturopathic medicine is prevention. This is accomplished through education and promotion of lifestyle habits that foster good health. The doctor assesses risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease and makes appropriate interventions to avoid further harm and risk to the patient. The emphasis is on building health rather than on fighting disease.