First Do No Harm
The therapeutic processes used by a physician should be aimed at supporting the body in its attempt at self-healing. Naturopathic medicine aims to work synergistically with the Healing Power of Nature (the vis mediatrix naturae). Any treatment which does not address the underlying cause of symptoms, but rather merely suppresses them, is considered harmful since the symptoms generated by our bodies are in fact, a part of the healing process. Such suppressive therapies are minimized or avoided if at all possible.
Identify or Treat the Cause
Symptoms of illness are viewed not as the cause of disease, but as the expression of the body?s attempt at self-healing and should therefore not be suppressed through medical treatment. Rather, complete recovery from illness depends on the discovery and removal of the true underlying cause of the disease in the individual. Naturopathic medicine aims to uncover underlying causes of disease at the physical, metal, emotional or spiritual levels in the patient and thereby restore health.
The Physician as Teacher
Naturopathy views the role of the physician as one of educator rather than paternalistic all-powerful figure of the past. The naturopathic doctor is a catalyst; encouraging the patient to make decisions which promote health and prevent disease. The naturopathic doctor-patient relationship is a therapeutic one in which the patient is empowered and motivated to assume ultimate responsibility for his/her own health.
The Healing Power of Nature
Our bodies have an innate mechanism for maintaining and re-establishing health through a system which is structured and intelligent. Naturopathic medicine aims to support this healing process through identifying and eliminating barriers to health and recovery and through restoring health to the interior and exterior environments of the individual. The naturopathic physician treats disease through the stimulation, increase, and support of the individual’s inherent healing capacity.
Heal the Whole Person
Naturopathic medicine views the individual as a complex and unique whole; made up of many interacting facets. All of these integral factors- spiritual, emotional, mental and physical- must be taken into account in the care of the individual. The naturopathic physician must seek to uncover each of these levels in the patient and to diagnose and treat in a manner which is inclusive of all of them.
The fundamental goal of doctor-patient interaction is the pursuit of optimal health and not merely the treatment of disease once it arises. The naturopathic doctor educates the patient in making choices which promote health and prevent disease through assessing the individual’s risk factors and circumstance and guiding the patient in building a healthful lifestyle and minimizing the risk of disease.