Naturopathic Medical Philosophy

2013-11-20_edwardsHi, everyone!

This week I'll start a series on naturopathic medical philosophy.

Here at NUHS we are fortunate to have Dr. Louise Edwards as the cornerstone instructor for the philosophical portion of our medical education. Dr. Edwards has developed a strong curriculum that incorporates all of the ideas I will be discussing over the next few weeks. With her permission, her words will appear verbatim in this blog where the circumstances are most prudent to do so. This week, I'll begin with the basics, the Naturopathic Model and our primary goal as naturopathic doctors.

The Basics 

Naturopathy is treating suffering (pathos) according to the laws of nature, using natural means.

We, as students and interns, are trained to use the most natural, least invasive methods that are within our scope of practice to help our patients return to a state of health. If higher force interventions are necessary to help our patients heal, then we will refer to a specialist for co-management, just as any other primary care provider would do.

The Naturopathic Model

  1. Health is a constant and natural state of being.
  2. Ill health is an adaptive response to disturbances in the organism.
  3. The universe is ordered and intelligent. Healing is a process that is ordered and predictable.
  4. Removal of disturbing factors (correcting the disturbances in the Determinants of Health) will create the basis for a return to normal health.
  5. Intervention should involve the least force necessary to stimulate the self-healing mechanisms.

Through recognizing and working within the Naturopathic Model, we are able to determine the root cause or "center of gravity" of a patient's divergence from a state of health. With an understanding of the root cause, we can then implement the naturopathic therapeutic order, which I will discuss in coming weeks.

Re-Establish the Basis for Health

Finally, our primary goal as naturopathic doctors is to "re-establish the basis for health." 

We accomplish this through correcting the disturbing factors impacting a patient's healthy state of being.  The patient's disturbing factors can also be described as their "Determinants of Health." Next week, I'll discuss these determinants and how they impact a patient's health, over the short and long term.