Naturopathic Medicine is a whole person approach to healthcare, which works to address the whole person using a combination of natural, functional, integrative, empirical and preventative strategies. The goal is to determine the most efficacious and safest medicine available to restore and optimize health.
The practice of Naturopathic medicine is guided by six major principles:
Primum Non Nocere- “First Do No Harm”: Naturopathic Physicians prevent harm by avoiding suppression of symptoms and by using the least force necessary to treat the underlying cause. Moreover, Naturopathic Physicians prevent harm by working with the body's inherent pace and process of healing, rather than against it.
Vis Medicatrix Naturae- “The Healing Power of Nature”: Naturopathic Physicians recognize the inherent ability of the body to heal itself. Therefore Naturopathic Physicians work to find and remove the obstacles preventing recovery. In doing so they are able to support and develop the body’s natural healing ability.
Tolle Causam-“Identify and Treat Underlying Causes”: Naturopathic Physicians work to remove any underlying source of disease. In doing so efforts are focused on resolving the root cause, as compared to simply suppressing or eliminating the symptoms.
Docere- “Doctor as Teacher”: Naturopathic Physicians not only educate their patients, but also encourage the patient's self-empowered journey to health.
“Treat the Whole Person”: Naturopathic Physicians examine and work to balance all aspects of each patient. Mental, physical, social, genetic, environmental and even spiritual factors are considered on an individual case-to-case basis.
“Prevention”: Naturopathic Physicians concentrate on the prevention of illness. Risk factors, genetics, and general susceptibility are considered when making cooperative decisions regarding prevention.
Naturopathic Physicians undergo a rigorous four year Doctoral program at accredited Naturopathic Medical colleges. Naturopathic Medical education incorporates the same basic sciences as conventional medical programs, but with added curricula of natural and holistic therapeutic approaches. Such approaches include but are not limited to botanical medicine, nutrition, physical medicine, psychology, and homeopathy. Additionally, Naturopathic Physicians must complete over 1,200 clinical training hours, and a minimum of 132 preceptorship hours. Following graduation from an accredited Naturopathic Medical program, a Naturopathic Physician must undergo rigorous professional examination in order to receive licensure. After passing the required board examinations, Naturopathic Physicians may then be licensed by their local state authority, barring any state mandated examinations.
Naturopathic Physicians are also a part of numerous professional organizations including the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and other local state organizations, such as the Vermont Association of Naturopathic Physicians.