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History of Naturopathic Medicine

“Hippocrates, a Greek physician who lived over 2000 years ago, is one of the first recorded westerners to describe the concept of “the healing power of nature”. While this is an idea shared by cultures around the globe, dating back many more millennia, he is attributed to bringing the concept into “modern medicine.” This concept has remained foundationally at the core of global medicine and remains one of the central principles of naturopathic medicine.


In North America, naturoathic medicine traces its origins to Dr. Benedict Lust. He used the term “naturopathy” to describe a clinical preactice, which integrated such natural healing methods as botanical medicine, homeopathy, nutritional therapy, manipuative therapy, acupuncture, and lifestyle couseling.


The American School of Naturopathy was founded by Dr. Lust in New York and graduated its first class in 1902. Naturoppathic practitioners formed the Naturopathic Societey of America and established naturopathic colleges and large health centers throughout North America.


World War II saw the trust of health care being placed on newly introduced antibodies, the growth of the pharmaceutical industries and surgical procedures. Most unfortunately, the tranditional healing practices became less populat however, within the past 30 years, extrodinary increase in consumer demand for safe, effective, and cost-effective naturla health care has occured. Naturopathic medicine has emerged as the health-care profession best suited to meet this demand. Although it almost disappeared in the mid-twentieth century becuase of the popularity of drugs and surgery, naturopathic medicine now offers safe, effective therapies as a vital part of the health-care systems of North America in the twenty-first century.

 

Natuorpathic physicians are trained in the are and science of natural health care at accredited medical colleges. Integrative partnerships between conventional MDs and licensed NDs are becomming more available and sought after. This cooperation makes more effective therapies available to consumers and increases patient satisfaction in their relationships with their care providers. 

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct health care profession loyal to philosophies rooted in emphasizing prevention, support, and health optimization through the use of natural therapeutic methods and modalities. Naturopathic Physicians partner with patients to encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing processes. The practice of naturopathic medicine includes modern and traditional, scientific, and empirical methods.

 

The following principles are the foundation of naturopathic medical practice:

The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae): Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in people that is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment a person’s inherent self-healing process.

 

Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam): The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.

 

First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere): Naturopathic physicians follow three guidelines to encourage safety:

  • Utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat;
  • Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms; and
  • Acknowledge, respect, and work with individuals’ self-healing process.

Doctor as Teacher (Docere): Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.

 

Treat the Whole Person: Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. Whole health includes spiritual health– naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.

 

Prevention: Naturopathic physicians emphasize the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and by making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness.

 

Naturopathic Practice

Naturopathic practice includes the following diagnostic and therapeutic modalities: clinical and laboratory diagnostic testing, nutritional medicine, botanical medicine, naturopathic physical medicine (including naturopathic manipulative therapy), public health measures, hygiene, counseling, minor surgery, homeopathy, acupuncture, prescription medication, intravenous and injection therapy, and naturopathic obstetrics (natural childbirth).

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