The Philosophy of Naturopathic Medicine
Living things have an innate ability to heal themselves. Our vital force promotes self-cleansing, self-repair, and therefore self-healing. This process can be achieved by focusing on the immune, hormonal, nervous, and detoxification/elimination systems of the body. Once these systems are in balance, restored health is a probability.
Naturopathic doctors treat their patients holistically, taking into consideration the individual's biochemistry, biomechanics, and emotional predispositions. The body's self-healing ability can be better understood if one takes into account the fact that homeostasis, or biological balance, is the main characteristic of any healthy system.
A good example is fever. When the body is invaded by a pathogen (a substance capable of producing illness or disease), the body will usually respond by producing a fever to fight the invader. If the body is properly supported through nutrition and rest, the fever will turn up the immune system and permit the recovery of health.
Other examples are the immune system, hormonal system, nervous system, and detoxification/elimination pathways, which all work as a unit to ensure our survival. If given the proper support, care, and the chance to function freely without suppression, they can bring the system back to a state of balance or "ease" (as opposed to "dis-ease").
There are no panaceas or magic bullets. Each individual has his or her own unique set of symptoms and reactions which will, in turn, dictate the approach the Naturopathic doctor takes to treat them. This is why each person seeking help from a Naturopathic doctor will receive an individualized treatment protocol. Naturopathic medicine is practiced either as a primary system of medical care, or as a complementary adjunct to conventional medical treatment.
The goal of Naturopathic Medicine is to develop optimal wellness for each patient, and to teach the principles of ideal health. Although Naturopathic doctors are educated and trained to treat acute and chronic disease, prevention is the ultimate goal. This is based on the Naturopathic philosophy of wellness enhancement -- not disease management.