By: Dr. Rochelle Kellepan, ND
Happy Naturopathic Medicine Week! To celebrate naturopathic medicine as a whole and all it has to offer, I wanted to highlight a few important points.
Naturopathic medicine is a type of primary healthcare focused on comprehensive diagnosis and treatment, prevention and creating a state of optimal well-being. It relies on therapeutic modalities that support the body’s inherent ability to heal. It’s a combination of empirical, modern, traditional and scientific methods to create an individualized care plan for each patient. Naturopathic medicine consists of many modalities including, botanical medicine, physical medicine, hydrotherapy, nutritional counseling, mental health counseling, craniosacral therapy, minor office procedures, homeopathy and IV therapy.
Naturopathic doctors are licensed primary care doctors who have graduated from a four-year accredited medical school. This means they can do annual wellness visits, well-child exams, order labs/imaging and refer to specialists. ND’s can prescribe pharmaceuticals and/or nutraceuticals. Most importantly, naturopathic doctors have completely through training on how to address the root cause of a health condition.
Naturopathic medicine is based on six principles that are focused on the core idea of the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. The six principles of naturopathic medicine are as follows:
First Do No Harm
ND’s implement the most natural and least invasive treatment therapy first in order to support the systems within the body to heal.
The Healing Power of Nature
Naturopathic doctors utilize natural therapies such as herbal remedies and nutraceuticals in conjunction with ensuring that patients have strong foundations of health in order. They can help patients create a healthy environment in order to maintain optimal health.
Identify and Treat the Causes
The idea of removing any obstacles that may be obscuring a patient’s ability to heal from an illness.
Doctor as Teacher
ND’s are dedicated to teaching patients about their health which in turn allows patients to have an understanding of how to make steps to achieving adequate health.
Treat the Whole Person
This is the understanding that the patient’s health is connected to their lifestyle and environment. An ND’s goal is to ensure that treatment is always approached through a “treat the whole-person” perspective. This allows patients to identify and understand factors in their lifestyle that require balance in order to maintain health.
Naturopathic medicine is based on the principle that teaching practices which guide the patient’s ability to prevent illness is key to restoring balance and staying healthy.
Naturopathic medicine follows a therapeutic order to help guide, prioritize treatments and individually treat a patient based on their specific case. The order is based on the idea of utilizing the least invasive treatment option and working up to the most invasive treatment option, if indicated. This therapeutic order allows ND’s to work with their patient and adapt the order to meet the patient where they are in their healthcare journey. The therapeutic order consists of the following steps:
Establish Foundations for Optimum Health
This is the idea that in order to achieve optimal well-being and prevent health concerns that first, patients need to address any obstacles that may prevent them from reaching their health goals. This could include working on diet, lifestyle, sleep, stress, exposures etc.
Stimulate Self- Healing
This focuses on supporting the body’s innate healing force also known as the “vital force.” This can be supported with the use of many modalities that naturopathic medicine offers such as botanical medicine, nutrition, counseling, hydrotherapy and many more.
Support and Restore Weakened Systems
This step focuses on guiding underactive or overactive systems by repairing them through natural therapies. By restoring optimal function to systems within the body we can then enhance their interaction with the rest of the body to achieve and preserve optimal health.
Address Physical Alignment
This level focuses on the use of physical medicine modalities such as spinal manipulation, massage, craniosacral therapy, etc. to help restore structural function to the musculoskeletal system.
Natural Symptom Relief
This level optimizes the use of natural therapies to help treat conditions, mitigate symptoms and restore health without causing any increase to toxic load and adverse effects.
Synthetic Symptom Relief
There are times when synthetic or pharmaceutical use maybe ne necessary in order to restore health or manage symptoms. ND’s utilize pharmaceuticals when needed but are aware that suppressing symptoms can change the ability to find and treat the root cause of conditions.
High Force Interventions
Stronger interventions are sometimes needed in order to safely restore health, control symptoms that could cause harm and quickly aid the body to support its natural vital force. This entails high level therapies such as suppressive pharmaceuticals, radiation, surgery etc. This is the very last step on the therapeutic order and only implemented, if necessary to halt disruptive factors to a patient’s health.
If the key factors that contribute to naturopathic medicine resonate with your healthcare goals, make an appointment with us! We would love to be a part of your healthcare journey!