During Naturopathic Medicine Week this year, each day I hope to elaborate on each of the 6 principles that define the practice of Naturopathic Medicine. The reason being that these principles are what unite our profession. Licensed Naturopathic doctors (NDs) may choose to include some or all of the modalities in their practice such as, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, pharmacology, IV nutrition and physical medicine, but the treatment plans are still created based on the six guiding principles.
Today we begin the first and foremost principle which is familiar to people as a being a part of the original Hippocratic Oath: “First, do no harm”
Sounds simple enough and may seem self-explanatory - the treatment recommended by a doctor should not cause further harm to the patient. However, this simple phrase has a much deeper meaning when applied in Naturopathic Medicine. Two main implications of this principle are:
The initial intake visit with most NDs is at least an hour long in order to assess how multiple factors in a patient’s life may have contributed to and shaped their current state of health. This is what provides the context. This includes recording past injuries, surgeries, major illnesses, major life changes such as job change/loss, current living conditions & strain/status of relationships, dietary habits, drug & food allergies, exercise routine, social & lifestyle preferences and spiritual practices. This gives the doctor a 360 degree view of what makes the patient who they are and what changes can be made to stop further harm.
After a thorough history, physical examination and assessment, treatment recommendations that follow the use of the least invasive therapies come into 4 major categories:
"The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease"
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