Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care system that combines modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease. Symptoms of disease are seen as warning signals of improper functioning of the body and unfavorable lifestyle habits.

Naturopathic doctors are highly-educated primary care providers who integrate standard medical diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies. Naturopathic medicine plays an important role in integrative health care, and treatments can be used on their own or together with conventional medicine.

Treating both acute and chronic conditions, naturopathic treatments are chosen based on the individual patient – their physiological, structural, psychological, social, spiritual, environment and lifestyle factors. In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, natural therapies include botanical/herbal medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, and traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture.

In Canada, the naturopathic medical profession’s infrastructure includes accredited educational institutions, professional licensing, national standards of practice, participation in many federal health committee initiatives, and a commitment to state-of-the-art scientific research.

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.