According to our dictionary, naturopathy is “a system of alternative medicine based on the theory that diseases can be successfully treated or prevented without the use of drugs, by techniques such as control of diet, exercise, and massage.”
In other words, we give your body everything it needs to do the work of healing and staying healthy. When your body has the building blocks it needs, it is self healing unless the issues are particularly serious or have been going on for an extended period.
Naturopathy is distinct from traditional Western medicine, which is what most primary doctors practice. The emphasis in naturopathic medicine is prevention and health promotion rather than symptom treatment. Naturopaths are doctors in every sense of the word, and the practice of naturopathy is evidence based, just as Western medicine is.
Instead of prescribing drugs that force unnatural treatment on the body (and have numerous side effects), naturopathy works within the body’s natural processes to effect healing. There should be very few side effects after the initial treatment begins. However, sometimes a body is so damaged from toxins and unhealthy living that the person feels a little worse before he or she feels better.
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) offers the foundation principles of naturopathy on its website, naturopathic.org. We’ll paraphrase them here:
The Healing Power of Nature
Naturopathic medicine recognizes the individual’s ability to heal himself or herself. It promotes processes that help heal and removes obstacles to health.
Identify and Treat the Causes
Unlike Western medicine, which merely remedies symptoms, naturopathy seeks to find and treat the causes of disease.
First Do No Harm
Every naturopath avoids using harmful medications and treatment methods, will not suppress symptoms in most cases, and aligns treatment with the individual’s self-healing ability.
Doctor as Teacher
Providing education and promoting self-responsibility are primary functions of naturopathic physicians.
Treat the Whole Person
Naturopaths are holistic physicians and treat the individual by considering his or her environment, genetics, abilities, and attitudes.
Naturopathic doctors focus on prevention and reducing risk and susceptibility to illness.
Naturopathy utilizes many different treatment modalities, such as acupuncture, nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, and massage. Each has its own benefits and carries little to no risk to you.
If you’d like to start naturopathic treatment, or find out more about how naturopathy can help you, let us know.