Naturopathic medicine is a distinct branch of health care that utilizes natural therapeutics and whole-person centered care to prevent and treat illness, and promote optimal wellness. Naturopathic doctors are uniquely trained as the only group of physicians that specialize in alternative and natural approaches to medicine. They blend ancient and traditional medical knowledge with modern scientifically backed diagnosis and naturally based treatment modalities.
Doctors of naturopathic medicine graduate from accredited, 4-5 year, post-graduate medical institutions where they are educated in both conventional medical sciences and natural therapeutics. This gives them the unique ability to provide truly integrative medicine for their patients. After graduating, doctors go on to complete a three day national board examination.
Clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, physical medicine, dietary supplements, homeopathy and lifestyle counseling are some of the modalities that naturopathic doctors regularly utilize with their patients. These therapies can stand alone, or can be used to compliment therapies used by conventionally trained medical practitioners. The goal is a patient-centered approach that strives to provide the most appropriate treatments for each individual. Naturopathic doctors are trained in diagnosis using thorough case histories, physical exams, and laboratory tests, which aid in developing individual and comprehensive treatment plans. The practice of naturopathic medicine is founded upon seven underlying principles:
- Prinum No Nocere – First do no harm
Naturopathic medicine utilizes therapeutics with minimal side effects. The therapeutic order of treatment dictates the order that treatment modalities be used, beginning with the most gentle.
- Vis Medicatrix Naturae – The healing power of nature
Naturopathic doctors recognize the inherent intelligent ability of the body to heal; instead of specifically treating disease, they work to remove obstacles that get in the way of recovery.
- Tolle Causam – Identify and treat the cause
Instead of merely treating a group of symptoms, naturopathic doctors work to identify and treat the underlying cause of illnesses.
- Tolle Totum – Heal the whole person
A patient is more than just a group of symptoms. Naturopathic doctors strive to understand their patients as whole people. They take into account physical, emotional, mental, environmental, genetic and social well-being.
- Docere – Physician as teacher
A true foundation in naturopathic medicine is educating patients, allowing them to make healthy choices for themselves.
- Prevention – Prevention is the best cure
The prevention of disease requires looking at risk factors in both individuals and populations. Because a healthy environment is so important to preventative health, naturopathic doctors often advocate for changes that will lead to a healthier world for all.
- Wellness – Work to achieve optimum heath
No matter what state of health a person is in, they can strive to achieve their own individual optimum health. Naturopathic doctors partner with their patients to help them achieve their personal health goals, and challenge them to move toward an optimal state of being.
Naturopathic doctors work both in private practices and in integrated medical settings, and collaborate with all branches of the medical field. There are currently naturopathic doctors that hold positions in hospitals, the National Institute of Health, research institutions, and conventional medical schools. Fifteen US States currently have licensing laws for naturopathic doctors, with naturopathic doctors in the remaining states working hard to pass laws that will allow the availability of naturopathic medical care to people throughout the country. Show your support in making comprehensive natural medical care an option in Indiana by supporting INANP now.