Naturopathic medicine is governed by a set of guiding principles which define it more so than its modalities. That is, although naturopathy primarily utilises “natural medicine” i.e. herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, dietary changes and lifestyle advice, the true identity of naturopathy lies within these six principles.
1. Vis medicatrix naturae – the healing power of nature
The body has an inherent ability to heal itself – as nature regenerates itself without the need for human intervention, so too does the human body.
2. Tolle causum – identify and treat the cause
Symptoms are regarded as indicators of underlying imbalances; symptomatic treatment is just that.
3. Tolle totum – treat the whole person
Your unique picture of health is determined by an interplay of individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, spiritual and occupational factors. Failure to address each of these aspects fundamentally ignores the complexity of the human body and potentially overlooks the root cause of dis-ease.
4. Primum non nocere – first do no harm
Medical practices of the past used arsenic, mercury and blood letting. This principle is a reaction to these procedures and acknowledges the healing power of nature; supporting the bodies ability to heal itself results in harmless practice. Harm free treatment traditionally avoids the use of harmful doses of medicines and their side effects, avoids suppressing symptoms, is non-invasive and supports the individuals self-healing process.
5. Docere – doctor as teacher
Originally in latin, the word doctor translated to ‘teacher’. The power of the body to heal lies within the body itself and not the practitioner. Education and encouragement of self-education seeks to encourage inspiration, motivation and self-empowerment for the patient.
6. Preventare – prevention
Although becoming increasingly more difficult in a healthcare system that is focused on disease rather than health; via addressing ones risk factors, constitution and genetics, naturopathic medicine can prevent both the development and the progression of diseases.