What Is A Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic Doctor explaining blood tests

Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. Naturopathic medicine is the art and science of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease using natural therapies including botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, naturopathic manipulation, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and lifestyle counselling.

Naturopathic doctors are primary care practitioners. Naturopathic doctors also complement and enhance health care services provided by other health care professionals. NDs cooperate with other healthcare professionals, referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate. Naturopathic Doctors provide patients with a truly integrative form of health care.

The practice of naturopathic medicine is based on six principles:

  1. First, Do No Harm: Naturopathic doctors use gentle yet effective treatments that have minimal risk of side effects.
  2. The Healing Power of Nature: Naturopathic doctors recognize that the body has self-regulating and self-healing capabilities. A naturopathic doctor’s role is to assist and support this inherent healing ability of the body through the safest and most effective means possible.
  3. Remove the Cause: Just as a finger with a splinter in it can never heal properly until the splinter is removed, an illness will remain in some form until its cause is removed. Causes can include nutritional, lifestyle, metabolic, genetic, infectious, mental, emotional and social factors, as well as injury.
  4. The Doctor as Teacher: The word doctor comes from the latin word docere, which means “to teach”. Naturopathic doctors take time to identify and teach patients the information and skills that they need to regain and maintain their health.
  5. Treat the Whole Person: Naturopathic medicine recognizes and addresses the fact that the whole body and the environment we live in are interrelated.
  6. Prevention: Prevention is the best medicine. Looking at lifestyle risk factors and genetic vulnerabilities allows naturopathic doctors to guide patients in taking a proactive role in preventing disease. Preventive medicine on the individual level is an essential component of naturopathic medicine’s broader goal of disease prevention within the greater community.