Naturopathy is a medical philosophy that puts value into the importance of healthy dietary and lifestyle habits to prevent chronic disease. The history of naturopathic medicine has included many treatment modalities and therefore practitioners have very different scopes of practice. However, most naturopathic physicians subscribe to the following guiding principles:
The Healing Power of Nature. The body has the inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. The healing process is ordered and intelligent; nature heals through the response of the life force.
Identify and Treat the Cause. Illness does not occur without cause. Underlying causes of disease must be discovered and removed or treated before a person can recover completely from illness.
First, Do No Harm. Illness is a purposeful process of the organism. The process of healing includes the generation of symptoms, which are, in fact, an expression of the body attempting to heal itself. Therapeutic actions should be complementary to and synergistic with this healing process.
Treat the Whole Person. The Multifactorial Nature of Health and Disease Health and disease are conditions of the whole organism, a whole involving a complex interaction of physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. The Physician must treat the whole person by considering all of these factors.
The Physician as Teacher. Beyond an accurate diagnosis and appropriate prescription, the Physician must work to create a healthy, sensitive interpersonal relationship with the patient. A cooperative doctor-patient relationship has inherent therapeutic value. The Physician’s major role is to educate and encourage the patient to take responsibility for health. The Physician is a catalyst for healthful change, empowering and motivating the patient to assume responsibility. It is the patient, not the doctor, who ultimately creates/accomplishes healing. The Physician must strive to inspire hope as well as understanding. The Physician must also make a commitment to his/her personal and spiritual development in order to be a good teacher.
Prevention is the best cure. The ultimate goal of any health care system should be to prevent disease. This is accomplished through education and promotion of life-habits that create optimal health.
Currently, naturopathic medicine providers who graduated from an accredited university are licensed by the state they practice in. For more information on the Oregon Board of Naturopathic Medicine, follow this link.