What’s the Naturopathic Medicine Difference?
Naturopathic medicine emphasizes prevention, treatment and optimal health using therapeutic methods and natural remedies to support an individual’s health.
Naturopathy is a lifestyle, a philosophy, an art and an alternative medicine that embraces the whole person.
The practice of naturopathic medicine blends modern and traditional, scientific and holistic methods.
Naturopathy includes diagnostic and therapeutic modalities such as clinical and laboratory diagnostic testing, nutritional medicine, herbal medicine, homeopathic remedies, natural remedies, holistic medicine, ultrasound therapy and naturopathic physical medicine _ including naturopathic manipulative therapy and homeopathic chelation therapy.
Naturopathy is based on six principles:
- The Healing Power of Nature or Vis Medicatrix Naturae (the Vis):
The Vis recognizes the body’s natural healing process, which is ordered and intelligent.
The first step for the naturopathic doctor is to assess the Vis, or the process present in the body that is constantly striving toward health and defending disease.
The naturopathic doctor’s holistic approach must understand the body’s processes and their overall function within the world, considering the mind, body and spiritual connection.
The naturopathic physician also works to identify and remove any obstacles to healing and recovery by doing anything possible to facilitate natural healing.
Holistic medicine is dependent on strengthening the immune system, decreasing toxicity, normalizing inflammatory function, optimizing metabolic function, improving nutrition, balancing regulatory systems, enhancing regeneration and helping someone live in harmony with their life force.
- Identify and Treat the Causes:
Naturopathic doctors assess, and then work to remove, the underlying causes of illness, or “dis-ease,” rather than seeking to simply eliminate or suppress symptoms. Naturopaths take a holistic approach that optimizes natural remedies and herbal medicine to improve a person’s natural health.
- First Do No Harm:
Naturopaths use natural treatments, medicinal substances and natural remedies that aim to minimize the risk of harmful side effects.
Application of treatments coincides with the naturopathic philosophy of high to low intensity or invasiveness in a patient.
To facilitate the healing process, naturopathic therapies are chosen which are most efficient and have the least potential harm to the patient.
- The natural order of naturopathic intervention is to:
- Re-establish the basis for natural health, including spiritual health;
- Stimulate the Vis;
- Tone and nourish weakened systems;
- Correct structural integrity;
- Prescribe specific natural remedies, herbal remedies and modalities for conditions;
- Prescribe pharmaceutical substances, as needed;
- Use radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.
Derived from Hippocrates, the clinical framework’s order emphasizes self-healing and respecting the origin of disease with applications, care and necessary treatments for natural health and healing using the least intervention.
- Doctor as Teacher:
A primary goal of naturopathic doctors is to educate their patients, while encouraging self-responsibility for health.
The naturopathic doctor empowers patients to heal by helping them take an active participation in their own natural health.
- Treat the Whole Person:
Naturopathic physicians spend time with the patient to assess their individual physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
- Determinants of natural health include:
- Physical/Spiritual/Emotional Health
- Decreased Stress Levels
- Determinants of natural health include:
Naturopathic doctors emphasize disease prevention by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, then making appropriate adjustments and/or interventions working in partnership with their patients.
The Basic Natural Health Healing Modalities
The fundamental base of holistic medicine is that the body is provided with energy metabolism in the form of calories through protein, grains, legumes, nuts/seeds, seaweeds and vegetables.
It is important for good nutrition to acquire nutrients from natural food sources in the environment. Simply put, eat as close to the earth as possible.
Plants and herbs are an important part of nature in which everyone evolved.
The properties and actions of herbs include, among other things, anti-bacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, antispasmodic, anti-tumor, expectorant and nerve tonic.
Herbal remedies and herbal supplements include liquid extract, tea, capsule, compress, powder form, herbal oil, essential oil, salve or ointment and poultice.
Dosing amount and times per day are dependent on the individual’s imbalance.
Herbal Supplements and Nutritional Supplements:
Food alone cannot replace nutrient imbalances. High doses of nutraceuticals and nutrients can help replace deficiencies.
Macronutrients: Carbohydrate, protein, lipids (fats)
Micronutrients: Sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, selenium and iodide
Vitamins: A, D, E, K, Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Pyridoxal Phosphate (B6), Biotin and Vitamin C.
Homeopathic medicine assists the body’s natural tendency to heal itself.
Homeopathic medicine recognizes that all symptoms of ill health are expressions of disharmony within the whole person and that it is the patient who needs treatment, not the disease.
Homeopathy also recognizes that different people react in different ways to the same illness.
Curing from the inside and working outward is based on the concept “like cures like.”
Symptoms are seen as the body trying to fight dis-ease, heal itself and restore natural balance.
The homeopathic practitioner evaluates all symptoms based on the patient’s description. This is the primary goal and guide to finding the accurate remedy.
Homeopathic Remedies and How They Work:
Homeopathic remedies use a very minute amount of an active ingredient in a specially prepared form.
When the healing process is faulty, blocked or slow, the homeopathic remedies act as a stimulus to the body’s curative powers.
Physical Medicine Options
Manipulative Therapy or Manual Therapy
Manipulative therapy releases stress from the body and realigns distortions in the spine that can affect nerves, muscles, internal organs, discs, bones, brain and posture.
Craniosacral therapy or cranial sacral adjusts the cranial rhythm by opening and unwinding areas of tension.
Colonics/Colon Cleanse/Colon Hydrotherapy
Colonics, colon hydrotherapy or colon cleansing includes a number of alternative medical therapies to help relieve constipation, heal irritated bowel and aid in detoxification from chemical exposure, toxicity or drug use and liver congestion.
A colon cleanse is a gentle irrigation of the large intestinal bowel using small amounts of water or solution. Colonics also aids in elimination from the bowel.
Homeopathic Chelation Therapy
Homeopathic chelation therapy uses natural herbs and remedies for chelation or to remove toxins and metals from the body.
Gently manipulates organs in the abdomen to ensure proper balance.
Application of hot, then cold, to the trunk, front and back and use of an electrical muscle stimulation machine.
Constitutional Hydrotherapy is used to balance body functions, strengthen immune system, reset the nervous system and promote healing.
Immersion Bath Therapy
This alternative treatment immerses all or a part of the body in water, usually at 110 degrees F, and then often is followed by a plunge in cool water.
Far Infrared Sauna
Increases body temperatures and promotes sweating as it is done at 125-165 degrees F. The far infrared sauna stimulates the metabolic cycle and encourages the breakdown and elimination of toxins.
Electrical stimulation uses electrical currents to gently stimulate an area of muscle weakness or an area that needs strengthening.
Electric stimulation is used for relief of muscle spasm, pain control, strengthening of injured muscles and stimulation of venous and lymphatic flow and lymphatic drainage through muscle contraction.
Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves, coupled with a medium like gel or water, for deep heating, muscle spasms, back pain, post-operative pain, bone spurs, localized increase of blood flow and to break up scar tissue.
Who do Naturopaths, or Naturopathic Doctors, Treat?
Naturopaths treat patients of all ages including:
- Children and Pediatrics
- Senior Population and Geriatrics
NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIAN’S OATH
I dedicate myself to the service of humanity as a practitioner of the art and science of Naturopathic medicine.
I will honor my teachers and all who have preserved and developed this knowledge and dedicate myself to supporting the growth and evolution of Naturopathic medicine.
I will endeavor continually to improve my abilities as a healer through study, reflection, and genuine concern for humanity.
I will impart knowledge of the advanced healing arts to dedicated colleagues and students.
Through precept, lecture, and example, I will assist and encourage others to strengthen their health, reduce risks for disease, and preserve the health
of our planet for ourselves, our families, and future generations.
According to my best ability and judgment, I will use methods of treatment which follow the principles of Naturopathic medicine:
First of all, to do no harm.
To act in cooperation with the Healing Power of Nature.
To address the fundamental causes of disease.
To heal the whole person through individualized treatment.
To teach the principles of healthy living and preventive medicine.
To recognize the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient interaction.
I will conduct my life and the practice of Naturopathic health care with vigilance and integrity, and freedom from prejudice.
I will abstain from voluntary acts of injustice and corruption.
I will keep confidential whatever I am privileged to witness, whether professionally or privately, that should not be divulged.
With my whole heart, before this gathering of witnesses, as a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, I pledge to remain true to this oath.