One of the features of the various schools of natural medicine that differentiates them from conventional medicine is their strong philosophical foundation. The basic philosophical premise of naturopathic medicine, for example, is that there is an inherent healing power in nature and in every human being. We believe that a primary role of the Naturopath is to bring out or enhance this innate healing power within his or her patients.
The seven fundamental principles of Naturopathy are as follows:
- The healing power of nature (vis medicatrix naturae)
- First do no harm (primum non nocere)
- Find the cause (tolle causam)
- Treat the whole person (tolle totum)
- Preventive medicine (Preventare)
- Doctor as teacher (Docere)
These principles translate into the following questions the practitioner applies when analyzing a case:
- What is the first cause; what is contributing now?
- How is the body trying to heal itself?
- What is the minimum level of intervention needed to facilitate the self-healing process?
- What are the patient's underlying functional weaknesses?
- What education does the patient need to understand why he or she is sick and how to become healthier?
- How does the patient's physical disease relate to his or her psychological and spiritual health?
Naturopaths believe in a holistic approach and that the true physician cannot function without a sound philosophical basis to guide his or her actions. Without a more than superficial understanding of health and disease, the physician is more likely to function as a technician, temporarily alleviating symptoms while allowing the real disease to progress past the point of recovery.