Naturopathic medicine is a complementary and alternative medicine which emphasizes the ability of the body to heal and maintain itself, which practitioners believe is innate. A Naturopathic medicine practice may include different modalities such as abstinence, acupuncture, colonic irrigation, counselling, chiropractic, diet, exercise, herbalism, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, environmental medicine, manual therapy, orthomolecular medicine and relaxation. Practitioners emphasise a holistic approach to patient care, and may recommend patients use evidence-based medicine alongside their treatments. Naturopathy has its origins in a variety of world medicine practices, including the Ayurveda of India and Nature Cure of Europe. It is practised in many countries but subject to different standards of regulation and levels of acceptance.
Naturopathic medicine practitioners prefer not to use invasive surgery, or most synthetic drugs, preferring natural remedies, for instance relatively unprocessed or whole medications, such as herbs and foods. Practitioners from accredited schools are trained to use diagnostic tests such as imaging and blood tests before deciding upon the full course of treatment. If the patient does not respond to these treatments, they are often referred to physicians who utilize standard medical care to treat the disease or condition.
The naturopathic medicine philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and to treat the root cause of disease. For many patients, this difference in approach to health provides them with a new perspective and awareness. By addressing the root cause(s) of disease and through the appropriate use of natural therapies many patients with chronic illness have found tremendous benefits.
Naturopathic doctors are guided by six principles. This set of principles, emphasized throughout a naturopathic doctor’s training, outlines the naturopathic approach to health and healing and forms the foundation of this distinct form of health care.
First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)
Naturopathic medicine follows three principles to avoid harming the patient:
1) utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects;
2) avoid, when possible, the harmful suppression of symptoms;
3) acknowledge and respect the individual’s healing process, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat illness.
Your naturopathic practitioner chooses remedies and therapies that are safe and effective, to increase your health and decrease harmful side effects.
The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)
Your naturopathic doctor works to restore and support the powerful and inherent healing ability of your body, mind and spirit and to prevent further disease from occurring. Naturopathic doctors identify and remove obstacles to recovery, facilitating and augmenting this ordered and intelligent healing ability.
Identify and Treat the Cause (Tolle Causam)
The primary goal of your naturopathic doctor is to determine and treat the underlying cause rather than simply managing or suppressing the symptoms. The underlying cause may be due to diet, lifestyle habits, life events, posture or environment. Symptoms are viewed as expressions of the body’s natural attempt to heal.
Treat the Whole Person (Tolle Totum)
Each person is unique and requires individualized care. In treating the cause of any condition your naturopathic doctor takes into account not only your physical symptoms, but also mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, spiritual and other factors. 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)
Your naturopathic doctors will assist you in understanding health and illness. He/she will provide with an understanding of the factors that affect your health and help you balance and become more capable of maintaining your own health. Naturopathic doctors also acknowledge the therapeutic value inherent in the doctor-patient relationship.
Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Your naturopathic doctor applies all of the above principles in a proactive form of disease prevention and health promotion. Naturopathic doctors emphasize healthy daily habits, they assess risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease and make appropriate interventions to prevent illness. Health is more than just the absence of disease. Health entails daily functioning on the highest possible levels, and is obtained by proper nutrition, exercise, a balanced lifestyle, positive emotions, thoughts and actions. The capacity for optimal wellness or an improved quality of life is inherent in every body.
Research studies conducted by Naturopathic Physicians at Bastyr University giving an indication of the type of scientific research that is conducted in Naturopathic Medicine.
Dr Georgiou is a naturopathic medicine practitioner and a member of the The General Council and Register of Naturopaths, UK (GCRN) as well as The Register of Naturopathic Iridologists, UK (M.R.N.I.). He also has a Doctor of Science in Alternative Medicine and a Doctor of Naturopathy (N.D degree).
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