Naturopathic Medicine is a primary health care model that blends modern science with traditional and natural forms of healing. Naturopathic doctors believe in treating the whole person, not just the disease, and identifying and treating the root cause of symptoms. Naturopathic doctors believe that nature has inherent healing powers and that we must work alongside the healing power of nature in order to obtain optimal health.
Naturopathic doctors have a variety of natural healing modalities in their treatment toolbox. These modalities include homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, lifestyle counseling, hydrotherapy and physical medicine.
Naturopathic doctors must have completed a 4-year undergraduate degree in the sciences in addition to the naturopathic doctor program, an intensive four-year program from an accredited college that includes more than 1,200 hours of clinical experience and involves more than 3,000 hours of classroom training. The program covers three major areas of study: biomedical sciences, clinical sciences and naturopathic therapeutics.
Completion of the ND program requires a 12 month internship in 4th year and completion of two regulatory licencing exams (NPLEX 1 and 2) after 2nd and 4th year as well as a board exam.
Naturopathic doctors are guided by 6 fundamental principles:
1) First, to do no harm, by using methods and medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effects.
2) To treat the causes of disease, by identifying and removing the underlying causes of illness, rather than suppressing symptoms.
3) To teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine, by sharing knowledge with patients and encouraging individual responsibility for health.
4) To heal the whole person through individualized treatment, by understanding the unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors that contribute to illness, and customizing treatment protocols to the patient.
5) To emphasize prevention, by partnering with the patient to assess risk factors and recommend appropriate naturopathic interventions to maintain health and prevent illness.
6) To support the healing power of nature, by recognizing and removing obstacles to the body’s inherent self-healing process.