The roots of Naturopathic medicine go back through medical history to the healing wisdom of many cultures and times. Around the 1900's, practitioners of a variety of medical disciplines combined natural therapeutics in a way they had not been combined before and joined together to form the first Naturopathic professional medical societies.
Naturopathic Medicine suffered a decline in the 1940’s and 50’s with the rise and popularity of pharmaceutical drugs and the idea that drugs could eliminate all disease. Natural medicine experienced a resurgence in the last three decades, as a health conscious public began to seek out alternatives to conventional medicine.
As a body of knowledge, Naturopathic medicine continues to grow and evolve. It incorporates elements of modern scientific medicine especially in the fields of diagnosis, immunology, clinical nutrition and botanical medicine. As an organized profession, Naturopathic medicine is committed to on-going research and development.
The principles of Naturopathic medicine unite the profession. The following elements are the foundation that Naturopathic medical practice is built upon.
The Healing Power of Nature. (Vis Medicatrix Naturae) Nature acts powerfully through healing mechanisms in the body and mind to maintain and restore health. Naturopathic physicians work to restore and support these inherent healing systems when they have broken down by using methods, medicines and techniques that are in harmony with natural processes.
First Do No Harm. (Primum non nocere) Naturopathic physicians advocate non-invasive treatments which minimize the risks of harmful side-effects. They are also trained to know which patients they can treat safely and which ones they need to refer to other health care practitioners.
Find the Cause. (Tolle Causam) Every illness has an underlying cause; often in aspects of the lifestyle, diet or habits of the individual. A Naturopathic physician is trained to find and remove the fundamental reason for a disease.
Doctor as Teacher. (Docere) The principal objective of Naturopathic medicine is to educate the patient and emphasize self-responsibility for health.
Treat the Whole Person. Health or disease arise from a complex interaction of physical, emotional, dietary, genetic, environmental, lifestyle and other factors. Naturopathic physicians treat the whole person, taking these factors into account.
Preventive Medicine. The Naturopathic approach to health care can prevent minor illnesses from developing into more serious or chronic degenerative diseases. Patients are taught the principles with which to live a healthy life. By following these principles they can prevent major illnesses.
The degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine requires four years of graduate level study in the medical sciences including: obstetrics, gynecology, anatomy, biochemistry, cardiology, clinical and physical diagnosis, dermatology, immunology, lab diagnosis, microbiology, minor surgery, neurology, pathology, radiology, pediatrics, pharmacology and physiology.
Throughout the educational program there is additional focus and intense training in acupuncture, Naturopathic therapeutic nutrition, preventive medicine, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, manipulative therapy, homeopathy and other therapies. You can learn more about Naturopathic curriculum by logging onto https://aanmc.org/resources/curriculum/
Naturopathic physicians are trained and licensed in the use of conventional modern diagnostic procedures, but differ from conventional doctors in their prescription of natural therapies instead of pharmaceutical drugs or major surgery.
Arizona Naturopathic Physicians are licensed to prescribe pharmaceuticals made from natural substances including some antibiotics when necessary.