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What Is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is primary care medicine with a holistic approach and an emphasis on natural therapies. The goal of naturopathic medicine is to facilitate the body's abilities to heal itself. Toward that goal, naturopathic doctors treat patients as active participants in their health care, and help empower patients to reach and maintain optimum health. Naturopathic medical practice focuses on each patient as an individual, treating underlying causes of illness in addition to relieving symptoms, in order to recover and maintain lasting wellness. Naturopathic medicine addresses the whole person--mind, body, and spirit--to find the safest, least invasive, effective treatments necessary to correct health problems.

What Is A Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic doctors (ND) are taught at four-year, graduate-level, accredited medical schools, where they are trained as primary care providers. Naturopathic doctors receive similar basic education in the diagnostic and clinical sciences as medical doctors (MD), with additional training in a wide spectrum of scientifically-based natural therapies. Naturopathic doctors are specialists in the prevention of disease, and in optimizing wellness. Naturopathic doctors diagnose by taking thorough histories, by performing physical exams, and by laboratory testing. Patient education and lifestyle counseling form the foundation of naturopathic medical practice.

Naturopathic doctors gained California licensure in 2004, as a result of newly passed legislation. Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington have been licensing naturopathic physicians for several years. Californians now possess the same splendid option for quality health care available in these states.

To learn more about naturopathic doctors, view the American Association of Naturopathic Physician's web site at www.naturopathic.org.

What Can Naturopathic Doctors Treat?

The scope of practice for naturopathic doctors includes all aspects of family and primary care, from pediatrics through geriatrics. Naturopathic medical therapies are effective in treating and in preventing a range of conditions, which may affect you and your family, including:

Common cold and flu

Skin conditions

Digestive disorders

Autoimmune diseases

High blood pressure

Menopausal symptoms

Weight issues

High cholesterol

Menstrual issues


Heart disease

Chronic pain










Some Therapies Naturopathic Doctors Use Are:

Botanical Medicine

Health and Lifestyle Counseling

Clinical Nutrition

Craniosacral Therapy

Diet Therapy

Stress Management


Physical Medicine

Exercise Therapy



What Are The Guiding Principles Of Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic doctors practice the following fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine:

The Healing Power of Nature - Vis Medicatrix Nature
Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent ability in the body which is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to recovery and to facilitate and augment this healing ability.

Identify and Treat the Causes - Tolle Causam
The naturopathic doctor seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness, rather than to eliminate or merely suppress symptoms.

First Do No Harm - Primum Non Nocere
Naturopathic medicine follows three principles to avoid harming the patient:
Utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects.
Avoid, when possible, the harmful suppression of symptoms.
Acknowledge and respect the individuals healing process, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat illness.

Doctor as Teacher - Docere
Naturopathic doctors educate the patient and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also acknowledge the therapeutic value inherent in the doctor-patient relationship.

Treat the Whole Person
Naturopathic doctors treat each individual by taking into account physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual path.

Naturopathic doctors emphasize disease prevention, assessment of risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease and making appropriate interventions to prevent illness. Naturopathic medicine strives to create a healthy world in which humanity may thrive.

Wellness follows the establishment and maintenance of optimum health and balance. Wellness is a state of being healthy, characterized by positive emotion, thought and action. Wellness is inherent in everyone, no matter what disease(s) is/are being experienced. If wellness is really recognized and experienced by an individual, it will more quickly heal a given disease than direct treatment of the disease alone.

Definition of Naturopathic Medicine: AANP Position Paper, 1989 Snider P., Zeff J., Co-Chairs: Select Committee on the Definition of Naturopathic Medicine AANP House of Delegates, Rippling River, Oregon.

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Hopewell Naturopathic
Family Medicine

1601 El Camino Real, Suite 101
Belmont, CA 94002

(650) 591-WELL (9355)

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