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What to Expect (Naturopathic Principals)

1- First, Do No Harm (Primum non nocere)

Naturopathic physicians choose the most non-invasive and least toxic treatments necessary for each patient.

2- The Healing Power of Nature (Vis medicatrix naturae)

Naturopathic doctors recognize the body’s inherent ability to heal itself.

3- Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle causam)

Naturopathic doctors identify, address and remove the underlying causes of disease.

4- Doctor as Teacher (Docere)

Educating and supporting patients on personal health management is an important role for naturopathic doctors. They empower patients to take responsibility for their own health. They also acknowledge the therapeutic value inherent in the doctor-patient relationship.

5- Treat the Whole Person (Tolle totum)

This is a holistic concept that recognizes the body as an integrated whole. Naturopathic doctors treat the patient, not the disease. A naturopathic assessment addresses the nutritional status, lifestyle, family history, physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors in a person’s life.

6- Prevention (Praevenic)

Naturopathic doctors promote a focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.

The Therapeutic Order of Naturopathic Medicine

A common question for those who have not visited a naturopathic doctor before, is how ND practice is different from what they might be used to in conventional models. The Therapeutic Order guides how the naturopathic principles are applied, and is based on the idea that the human body possesses an inherent drive to heal itself. It posits that the least amount of force be employed in order to promote gentle, safe and long-lasting health and well-being. The Therapeutic Order characterizes the natural progression of naturopathic therapeutic recommendations to maximize patient benefit and reduce the potential for damage or harm. Naturopathic care ultimately focuses on the individual and what is best for them at that moment in time.

Therapeutic Order of Naturopathic Medicine

The Therapeutic Order was first developed by naturopathic physicians, Drs. Jared Zeff and Pamela Snider. Dr. Zeff’s landmark 1997 article proposed the four-part Hierarchy of Healing in “The Process of Healing – A Unifying Theory of Naturopathic Medicine.” Drs. Snider and Zeff collaborated in developing it further in 1998, expanding the four-part model to seven levels, and renaming it the Therapeutic Order. It has evolved since then through additional publications. Naturopathic physicians use it in prioritizing, individualizing and guiding treatment for their patients. The therapeutic order works from least to most invasive interventions, from the inside out, from more general strategies, to more symptomatic, specific and targeted therapies. It includes seven steps that should be applied from the bottom up, increasing in intervention as needed to restore health. Central to the therapeutic order is that the order is not rigid, and is adapted to each patient.

In order to return to health, the initial step must be removal of anything impeding the healing process. This is often referred to as “removing obstacles to cure.” Naturopathic physicians create a plan with their patient that addresses these obstacles (common culprits are poor diet, excessive stress or disruptive coping mechanisms, digestive disturbances, inadequate rest, toxic exposures, socioeconomic stressors, trauma, etc.) in an effort to remove them and their effects, and improve the conditions under which the disease developed. Removing the things that are disturbing health allows the person’s vitality to increase, the self-healing process to be optimally engaged, and further therapeutic interventions to have the greatest beneficial effects possible. Removing obstacles to cure is core to the expression of the Naturopathic Philosophical Principle, Treat the Cause.

Stimulate the body’s self-healing mechanisms

Every person has within them an innate wisdom and intelligence that tends toward the optimal expression of health. In naturopathic medicine, this is called the “Vis Medicatrix Naturae.” The “Vis Medicatrix Naturae” is the body’s innate healing ability, the process of healing which engages with one’s “vital force” or life force, as it is often termed. Naturopathic physicians use various therapies such as nutrition, botanical medicine, physical medicine, lifestyle counseling, acupuncture, homeopathy and hydrotherapy to stimulate and enhance this mighty and dynamic force and process allowing the body to heal itself.

Strengthen Weakened or Damaged Systems – Restore and Regenerate

Sometimes the mind, spirit and body’s systems or functions need more than stimulation to improve. Systems that are under or overactive, or that need repair or support are addressed in this step. Naturopathic physicians use their broad and varied natural medicine(s) and healing practices to aid in restoring optimal function to an entire physiologic or organ system. This might include applying botanical medicine, endocrine balancing, professional grade supplements, homeopathy, counseling, manual therapies, acupuncture and others with the intention of enhancing the function of specific tissues, organs or systems; or at the psycho-emotional level.

Correct Structural Integrity

This level involves the use of physical therapies such as spinal manipulation, massage therapy, electrotherapy and cranio-sacral therapy to improve, support, and maintain musculature, fascial and skeletal integrity. Therapeutic movement, optimizing biomechanics, physical therapy and exercise may also be employed at this level to promote return to optimal structural condition.

Use Natural Therapies to Address Pathology and Symptoms

Although the primary objective of naturopathic medicine is to restore health, not to treat a distinct pathology, there are instances where specific pathologies must be addressed and managed. In these cases, naturopathic physicians utilize physiologically synergistic, dependable, effective natural substances that are unlikely to add toxic burden, cause adverse effects, place undue additional strain on an already disordered system, nor undermine the vis medicatrix naturae, while relieving the symptoms which cause suffering.

Use Pharmaceutical or Synthetic Substances to Stop Progressive Pathology

Synthetic or pharmaceutical substances may be necessary to restrain or strongly manage symptoms, and address specific pathology that is negatively impacting a patient’s quality of life or safety. NDs recognize that suppressing symptoms removes some of the awareness that helps us better understand the root cause of an issue and the ability to restore vitality.

Use High Force, Invasive Therapies to Suppress Pathology

Sometimes it is necessary in the interest of patient health, comfort and safety to suppress pathological symptoms, prior to addressing underlying causal factors, and ultimately restoring health. Though suppressive or palliative therapies may result in reduced symptomatic expression, even when done with the best of intentions, the end result of suppressive therapies is that the original, fundamental disturbing factors will continue to impact the person by sustaining disruption of functions (though perhaps to a lesser degree). Resolution of the disturbing factors may also be impeded or halted until the patient is stabilized and can address underlying causes while minimizing suffering and preventing further deterioration.

About Naturopathy - Barefoot Living Arts in Fairfield, CT


About Naturopathy - Barefoot Living Arts in Fairfield, CT

Mark Romano offers Acupuncture in Fairfield, CT

Barefoot Living Arts offers safe, effective Acupuncture in Fairfield, CT

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