Naturopathic medicine emphasizes prevention and self-healing, treating each person holistically to establish optimal health. This is according to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), which has released a new FAQ for consumers on the definition and focus of naturopathic medicine, in partnership with the Institute for Natural Medicine (INM).
The FAQ describes naturopathic medicine’s Therapeutic Order, which identifies the natural order in which all therapies should be applied to provide the greatest benefit with the least potential for damage. From least to most invasive, these are the therapeutic approaches employed by naturopathic doctors:
- Remove obstacles to health
- Stimulate the self-healing mechanisms
- Strengthen weakened systems
- Correct structural integrity
- Use natural substances to restore and regenerate
- Use pharmacological substances to halt progressive pathology
- Use high force, invasive modalities (e.g. surgery, radiation, chemotherapy)
“Naturopathic doctors don’t just identify and treat illnesses; we treat patients holistically to restore them to good health,” said Michelle Simon, PhD, ND. “We do that by identifying the underlying causes of illness, and developing personalized plans to address them. In that regard, naturopathic medicine focuses on health care, not sick care.”
Naturopathic doctors are educated and trained in accredited naturopathic medical colleges. While many naturopathic doctors are trained in primary care, like conventional medical doctors (MDs), some choose to specialize or focus their practices. Specialty associations currently exist for Endocrinology, Environmental Medicine, Gastroenterology, Parenteral Therapies, Pediatrics, Primary Care Medicine, Psychiatry, and Oncology.
The complete FAQ, “What is naturopathic medicine?” can be found at http://www.naturopathic.org/natfaqs#FAQ%202.