Naturopathic Medicine is a branch of medicine that believes in a holistic approach to treating patients, that strives to identify the underlying cause of disease, to remove obstacles to healing and to use treatments that are primarily in tune with the body’s natural healing abilities. It combines the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science.
The state of New Hampshire is one of 20 states that license Naturopathic Doctors. In these states, Naturopathic Doctors are required to graduate from accredited four-year naturopathic medical programs and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license. We are educated in the conventional medical sciences, and practice under the principles and philosophy of Naturopathic Medicine (see below). Naturopathic Doctors in states the state of NH are able to diagnose disease, gather health history, perform physical exams, order lab tests or imaging, refer to specialists when necessary, and prescribe treatments that may include diet and lifestyle recommendations, home treatments, in office treatments, natural substances (herbs, vitamins, minerals, supplements, homeopathic medicine), and prescribe certain pharmaceutical drugs when necessary.
Naturopathic Doctors are guided by a philosophy that allows them to provide personalized medical care and promote health rather than only treat disease symptoms. These principles are as follows:
- The Healing Power of Nature: Naturopathic medicine recognizes the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. Naturopathic doctors act to identify and remove obstacles to recovery, and to facilitate and augment this healing ability.
- Identify and Treat the Cause: 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: To adhere to this principle, naturopathic doctors follow three guidelines:
- 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 individual’s healing process, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat illness.
- Doctor as Teacher: The word “Doctor” is derived from the Latin word Docere which means “to teach”. Naturopathic doctors educate their patients 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, spiritual, genetic, environmental and social factors.
- Prevention: Naturopathic doctors emphasize disease prevention, assessment of risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease, and make appropriate interventions to prevent illness. Naturopathic medicine also strives to create a healthy world in which humanity may thrive.
- Wellness: Wellness follows the establishment and maintenance of optimum health and balance, and is not merely the absence of disease. Wellness is a state of being healthy, characterized by positive emotion, thought and action. It is inherent in everyone, regardless of what disease is being experienced