The practice of naturopathic medicine is the promotion of health, the assessment of the physical and mental condition of an individual, and the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases, disorders and dysfunctions through education, common diagnositic procedures, and the integrated use of therapies and substances that promote the individual’s inherent self-healing processes. Naturopathic doctors provide primary and adjunctive health care to people of all ages, focusing on the rational use of natural therapies to support and stimulate healing processes.
Naturopathic doctors promote health and prevent illness, and diagnose and treat disease in a manner consistent with the body of knowledge and standards of practice for the profession. Human health can be described as an experience of well being resulting from a dynamic balance that involves the holistic integration of the physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of a person as well as interactions with natural and social environments. Human health exists when the innate intelligence of the body can function optimally and unrestricted, and when each person can realize the aspirations they have chosen and strive to actualize their potential. Naturopathic doctors begin with the principle of Hippocrates Primum non nocere (firstly, do no harm). They utilize diagnostic and therapeutic methods as well as medicinal substances that pose the least risk of harm to the patient. In recognition of the healing power of nature active within the patient (known as the vis medicatrix naturae), naturopathic doctors strive to assist the intrinsic healing ability of the body in its efforts to restore and maintain a dynamic healthy person. ND’s seek to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery in order to facilitate and augment these inherent self-healing processes. Choosing to assist true healing and the resolution of disease, and not merely the treatment of symptoms, naturopathic doctors focus their efforts on the identification and treatment of the underlying causes of the patient’s illness by applying the principle of Tolle causam (find the cause).
In order to identify underlying causes, a holistic view of the patient must be employed, taking into account the complex integration of the person, including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, genetic, environmental, and social aspects. Naturopathic doctors subsequently construct treatment protocols that treat the whole person through individualized care. Because practitioners favour a patient-centred form of care, naturopathic doctors educate their patients so that these patients are better informed and able to exercise ultimate control over and responsibility for their own health. As a further extension of this principle of doctor as teacher (docere), practitioners emphasize the prevention of disease and the promotion of health in partnership with their patients by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and by promoting healthy lifestyles and communities.
*Extracted from The Ontario Naturopathic Professionšs Submission to the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council, a joint submission by the BDDT-N and the OAND.