Naturopathic medicine is based on the belief that the
human body has an innate healing ability. Naturopathic doctors teach their
patients to use diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and cutting edge natural
therapies to enhance their bodies’ ability to ward off and combat disease.
Naturopathic physicians craft comprehensive treatment plans that blend the
best of modern medical science and traditional natural medical approaches to
not only treat disease, but to also restore health.
Naturopathy is practiced in many countries, especially the United States
and Canada, and is subject to different standards of regulation and levels
of acceptance. The level of medical education among naturopaths also varies,
though no naturopathic training program reaches the same level of training
as an MD or DO. In the United States and Canada, the designation of
Naturopathic Doctor (ND) may be awarded after completion of a four year
program of study at an accredited Naturopathic medical school that includes
the study of basic medical sciences as well as natural remedies and medical
care. The scope of practice varies widely between jurisdictions, and
naturopaths in unregulated jurisdictions may use the Naturopathic Doctor
designation or other titles regardless of level of education.
Naturopathic ideology focuses on naturally-occurring and
minimally-invasive methods, trusting to the "healing power of nature. Such
treatments as "synthetic" drugs, radiation, and major surgery are avoided.
Prevention through stress reduction and a healthy diet and lifestyle is
emphasized. The philosophy of naturopathic practice is self-described by six
- First, do no harm;
provide the most effective health care available with the least risk to
patients at all times.
- Recognize, respect
and promote the self-healing power of nature inherent in each individual
- Identify and remove
the causes of illness, rather than eliminate or suppress symptoms.
- Educate, inspire
rational hope and encourage self-responsibility for health.
- Treat each person
by considering all individual health factors and influences.
- Emphasize the
condition of health to promote well-being and to prevent diseases for the
individual, each community and our world.
modalities utilized by an individual naturopath varies with training and
scope of practice. The demonstrated efficacy and scientific rationale also
varies. These include: