The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)
The healing power of nature is the inherent self-organizing and healing process of living systems. Naturopathic medicine recognizes this healing process to be ordered and intelligent. It is the naturopathic physician's role to support, facilitate and augment this process by identifying and removing obstacles to health and recovery, and by supporting the creation of a healthy internal and external environment.
Find The Cause (Tolle Causam)
Every illness has an underlying cause, often in aspects of the lifestyle, diet or habits of the individual. A naturopathic physician is trained to find and remove the underlying cause of a disease.
First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)
Naturopathic physicians utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful effects, and apply the least possible force or intervention necessary to diagnose illness and restore health. Whenever possible the suppression of symptoms is avoided as suppression generally interferes with the healing process.
Treat The Whole Person (Tolle Totum)
Health or disease comes from a complex interaction of mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, dietary, genetic, environmental, lifestyle, and other factors. Naturopathic physicians treat the whole person, taking these factors into account.
The naturopathic approach to health care can prevent minor illnesses from developing into more serious diseases. Patients are taught the principles with which to live a healthy life and by following these principles, they can prevent major illnesses.
Doctor as Teacher (Docere)
The original meaning of the word "doctor" is teacher. A principal objective of naturopathic medicine is to educate the patient and emphasize self-responsibility for health. Naturopathic physicians also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
Naturopathic Therapeutic Order
Stimulate the Vis Medicatrix Naturae? (Other names for "Vis" include "qi", "prana", "life force")
This is the force that moves us towards health; it is the essence that invigoratesus. Some modalities that we utilize to stimulate the "Vis" include hydrotherapy, exercise, yoga, mediation, craniosacral therapy, energy medicine and homeopathy.
Tonify Weakened Systems
Specific organs and body systems are sometimes over/underexpressed by people differently, for example some patients may have a hyper and hypo-stimulated immune system, nervous system, endocrine system, and cardiovascular system, etc....
Correct Structural Integrity
Disease may affect all systems if the communication pathways are compromised by spinal and nervous systems mal-alignment.
Prescribe specific, pathology based, natural substances
This is often necessary in more advanced pathology, however, this is done while addressing the underlying imbalance. When patients are in severe distress or pain, and they need relief immediately, naturopathic physicians may prescribe medicines, which allow for symptom palliation.
Pharmacological Agents for Pathology?
"To everything there is a season." There are many situations that warrant conventional medical treatments and therapies. In these cases, naturopaths utilize allopathic medicine as a subset to our modalities.
Surgery, Suppressive drugs, radiation and chemotherapy
These interventions save lives and help many, many patients to live longer, happier, healthier lives. As Dr. John Bastyr said towards the end of his retirement, "Do what works." In my experience I have seen many patients continue to lead healthy lives thanks to these interventions.