Vis Medicatrix Naturae (The Healing Power of Nature)- All living creatures have an innate ability to heal. In Naturopathy this innate ability is encouraged by using the appropriate natural therapies to restore health.
Tolle Causum (Identify and Treat the Cause)- Naturopathic physicians are trained to identify the root of the health problem and not to settle for only suppressing symptoms. We believe that chronic symptom suppression can only drive disease to continue rather than resolve.
Docere (Doctor as Teacher)- Naturopathy is centered around education, and with each visit the patient learns more about themselves and their disease/healing process. The purpose of this is to empower the patient to understand the healing process and utilize that knowledge to improve their health each day.
Treat the Whole Person- Patients are more than the problem(s) they present, they are people with lives, jobs, families, stresses, and hopes. By addressing social, nutritional, spiritual, as well as physical well being we are better able to identify the barricades to health. Patients are given an individualized treatment plan to address their specific healing obstacles.
Prevention- Naturopathic philosophy, therapies and medicines are all geared towards the prevention of disease. The education a patient receives in the areas of nutrition and healthy lifestyle changes are for the long-term goal of disease prevention.
Wellness- Naturopaths believe that health is not simply: freedom from symptoms. Wellness is a state of health where the patient feels satisfied with his or her ability to live each day.
Sounds pretty ideal, but what does it actually mean when sitting in a naturopath’s office? Let’s take the example of someone coming in for the ‘flu’. The visit may be longer for starts; most naturopaths spend at least an hour with new patients. There would be a thorough review of health, diet and general lifestyle patterns. There would be a physical exam to listen to lungs, look in ears and throat, temperature and blood pressure check, or any other areas needing attention. There may be blood work, chest x-ray or a strep test ordered.
Based on all the information a treatment plan would be laid out. This plan would likely include some dietary restrictions to assist the body in healing. It may include a homeopathic, herbal tincture or tea, or a hydrotherapy treatment to be done at home. There may be a specific array of vitamins and minerals that would help the immune system in healing the body. If there was a positive strep culture or chest x-ray then antibiotics may be warranted. As the patient you would leave with a thorough understanding of how your body is functioning with the illness and the changes that need to happen in order to achieve wellness, as well as warning signs if the illness is not improving. In summary the naturopath would work to assist your natural healing forces, in this case the immune system, to restore health versus suppressing the symptoms.
The next time you have to decide on a health care provider, try something new or rather old…choose naturopathy.