Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease. Symptoms of disease are seen as signs of improper functioning of the body, and unfavorable lifestyle habits. Naturopathic Medicine emphasizes disease as a process rather than as an entity.
Treating both acute and chronic conditions, naturopathic treatments are chosen based on the individual patient – their physiological, structural, psychological, social, environment and lifestyle factors. Naturopathic treatment draws from a number of modalities. Depending on the doctor’s approach and the needs of the individual patient, treatments may include clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, physical treatments, acupuncture and Asian medicine, lifestyle counseling, or a combination of these.
In Ontario, licensed Naturopathic Doctors have at least 7 years of post-secondary education, must graduate from an accredited educational institution, receive their professional licensing from the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy-Naturopathy (BDDT-N) as well as complete and pass international licensing exams (NPLEX). Naturopathic Doctors in Ontario have recently become regulated under the Regulated Health Practitioners Act (RHPA) alongside medical doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and most other health-care providers in the province.
Naturopathic doctors are philosophically governed by their oath and naturopathic principles.
FIRST DO NO HARM (PRIMUM NON NOCERE)
From a naturopathic philosophy, preventing harm refers to both the present as well as into the future. Many pharmaceutical interventions opt for temporary relief at the expense of long-term health. Selecting medicinal substances to reduce this risk, avoiding the suppression of symptoms when possible and respecting the individuals unique healing process is critical to this governing principle.
THE HEALING POWER OF NATURE (VIS MEDICATRIX NATURAE)
Naturopathic doctors identify and remove obstacles to recovery, facilitating and augmenting nature’s ordered and intelligent healing ability. This is accomplished through the selection of appropriate therapeutic interventions.
IDENTIFY AND TREAT THE CAUSE (TOLLE CAUSAM)
Our primary goal is to determine and treat the underlying cause of your discomfort or disease rather than simply managing or suppressing the symptoms. Symptoms are viewed as expressions of the body’s natural attempt to heal and are important indicators of where the body needs to be supported rather than suppressed.
TREAT THE WHOLE PERSON
Each person is unique and requires individualized care. Disease affects the entire person, not just a specific organ or system. Your nutritional status, lifestyle, family history, feelings, environmental stresses, and physical health are all carefully evaluated and addressed.
DOCTOR AS TEACHER (DOCERE)
Inherent to changing your health is an understanding of how to listen to the messages of your body and to develop long-term strategies to optimize and maintain your health and that of your family.