What Is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic Medicine is a system of medicine that understands that the body has the ability to heal itself if given the proper environment.
It uses a mixture of both ancient and modern diagnostic techniques to piece together a person’s situation and to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. These techniques include: thorough patient history and physical examination, blood work, special laboratory testing, Chinese tongue and pulse diagnosis, homeopathic intake, orthopedic testing, etc.
ND’s specialize in prevention and treatment of both acute and chronic illness using non-invasive treatment modalities and life management.
Treatment is very individualized and can consist of dietary counseling, botanical medicine, chiropractic adjustments, massage, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, homeopathy and supplementation.
First, Do No Harm
This principle was first introduced by Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. Naturopathic doctors use non-invasive methods of diagnosis and treatment, avoid suppressing symptoms and respect the individual’s self-healing process in order to avoid harming the patient.
The Healing Power of Nature
The body has an amazing ability and intelligence to heal itself. On a simple scale, this can be seen in our ability to heal a cut or scrape without any conscious effort. Naturopathic Doctors recognize and respect this ability and seek to facilitate it by removing factors which may be interfering with it and by utilizing treatments that encourage the process.
Treat the Cause
A Naturopathic Doctor seeks to identify and to correct the source of a person’s illness, rather than to merely cover up or suppress symptoms temporarily.
Doctor as Teacher
A large part of a Naturopathic Doctor’s job is to help their patient’s understand their condition and to encourage self-responsibility for their health. The goal of a Naturopath is to provide their patients with the knowledge and tools to maintain their own health and well-being.
Treat the whole person
Naturopathic doctors treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors.
Naturopathic doctors emphasize the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease and making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illnes.
I dedicate myself to the service of humanity as a practitioner of the art and science of Naturopathic medicine.
I will honour my teachers and all who have preserved and developed this knowledge and dedicate myself to supporting the growth and evolution of Naturopathic medicine. I will endeavour to continually improve my abilities as a healer through study, reflection and genuine concern for humanity. I will impart knowledge of the advanced healing arts to dedicated colleagues and students.
Through precept, lecture and example, I will assist and encourage others to strengthen their health, reduce risks for disease, and preserve the health of our planet for ourselves, our families, and future generations.
According to my best ability and judgement, I will use methods of treatment which follow the principles of Naturopathic medicine.
First of all, to do no harm.
To act in cooperation with the Healing Power of Nature.
To address the fundamental causes of disease.
To heal the whole person through individualized treatment.
To teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine.
I will conduct my life and the practice of Naturopathic health care with vigilance, integrity, and freedom from prejudice. I will abstain from voluntary acts of injustice and corruption. I will keep confidential whatever I am privileged to witness, whether professionally or privately, that should not be divulged.
With my whole heart, before this gathering of witnesses, as a doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, I pledge to remain true to this oath.
Education and Regulations
Naturopathic Doctors (ND’s) are considered primary care physicians after completing 4 years of a pre-med undergraduate program and 4 years of medical training.
Their medical training consists of 2 years of basic sciences – biochemistry, pathology, immunology, anatomy, physiology, histology, gross anatomy, lab diagnosis, physical clinical diagnosis, differential diagnosis and pharmacology. The final two years of study focus on clinical nutrition, traditional Chinese medicine, botanical medicine, homeopathy, naturopathic manipulation and lifestyle counselling. Graduates receive one full year of clinical internship.
Nationally, naturopaths are regulated by the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND). The Nova Scotia Association of Naturopathic Doctors (NSAND) is working with the government to establish regulations for Nova Scotia. Currently, Naturopathic Doctors practicing in Nova Scotia are required to hold a license in another regulated province (ON, BC, MB, SK) in order to be recognized by the CAND and NSAND.
Variations of the title Naturopathic Doctor are used by people who may have not received the proper training. Contact the CAND or your provincial board to ensure that they have received the extensive training described above.