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What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine takes a holistic approach to healing the body. This means that it looks at the body and symptoms in their entirety to formulate a treatment plan that is specific to one person. Treatment plans can include modalities such as botanical medicine, acupuncture, vitamins and minerals in clinical doses, massage, naturopathic manipulations, lifestyle counselling, and much more. Medicines used by a naturopathic doctor are meant to be a gentle aid for the body to strengthen its innate ability to heal itself.
Naturopathic doctors must complete an undergraduate degree including numerous prerequisite courses in order to be eligible to apply for naturopathic schooling. The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine offers a four-year program in naturopathic medicine which includes 3 years of in-class learning and a fourth year of clinical practice under the supervision of licensed naturopaths. On top of schooling, naturopathic doctors must also complete and pass two national board exams as well as a provincial board exam.
Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic doctors are guided by six fundamental healing principles:
First, to do no harm, by using methods and medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effects.
To treat the causes of disease, by identifying and removing the underlying causes of illness, rather than suppressing symptoms.
To teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine, by sharing knowledge with patients and encouraging individual responsibility for health.
To heal the whole person through individualized treatment, by understanding the unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors that contribute to illness, and customizing treatment protocols to the patient.
To emphasize prevention, by partnering with the patient to assess risk factors and recommend appropriate naturopathic interventions to maintain health and prevent illness.
To support the healing power of the body, by recognizing and removing obstacles to the body's inherent self-healing process. (excerpt taken from the CCNM website)