What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic Medicine is a system of health care that encompasses a vast array of ancient, traditional, and modern healing modalities to restore health and prevent disease.

Naturopathic doctors are led by these founding principles:

  1. Vis medicatrix naturae – the healing power of nature – is inherent in every person and if allowed to work uninhibited, will restore vitality and health.
  2. Premum non nocere – First do no harm – is part of every medical oath. The physician will balance the risk and benefit of every decision and always put the patients best interest first.
  3. Tolle Causum – Find and treat the cause – Do not simply palliate symptoms, but remove the instigator in order to cure.
  4. Tolle Totem – Treat the whole person – When illness strikes, it is not just one system that suffers, but the whole body. There are times when the impact of an incident hurts not just the physical, but the mental and emotional, the principle guides the physician to address health on every level, and in every system.
  5. Prevention – “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” Benjamin Franklin – still holds true today. As medical advances are made, and more is known about the long-term health effects of exposures and lifestyles, coaching patients regarding prevention is becoming more informed every day.
  6. Docere – Doctor as Teacher – It is essential to educate the patient to understand the process happening within, and the importance of adherence to the treatment plan. Every Patient has the right to ask questions until they have as much information as they desire.

Modalities included in Naturopathic medicine:

  • Nutrition – Genetic and dietary assessment of nutritional intake, content, and assimilation is key to providing custom dietary plans tailored to individual needs, budget, and goals.
  • Naturopathic Manipulation Technique – NMT – Trained by chiropractic doctors to manipulate individual spinal segments and joints that are in malposition. Sub categories of NMT include: Post isometric release – PIR – a gentle approach to ease muscle tension and decrease joint pain. Strain/Counter-strain is similar to PIR in the gentle approach and outcome. Trigger point therapy, is a method of following specific patterns of tension in muscle bellies with pain radiation and releases them through direct pressure and release. Myofacial release is another method to reduce muscle pain and tension in the body.
  • Body work - Massage/somatic/soft tissue manipulation – Katie is trained in Swedish massage and deep tissue therapy, as well as Somatic Re-education which is a form of body work that is both gentle and effective at improving the health status of many conditions. Body work is a great alternative to chiropractic type adjustments and manipulation and can be applied to all conditions of the body.
  • Hydrotherapy – Is a form of water applications, typically temperature changing, that work to massage the lymph, nervous, and circulatory systems. This stimulates all systems and the vis and aids in detoxification, rejuvenation, and improved constitution. Constitutional hydrotherapy is a very effective treatment for digestive complaints, liver stagnation, pancreatic sluggishness, and kidney conditions.
  • Pharmaceutical/medication management – Prescribing rights for naturopathic physicians is comprehensive in the state of Oregon and includes controlled substances with proper licensure. Training of medication management is extensive for acute and chronic conditions, as well as a mandatory part of continuing education.
  • Physiotherapy – Includes using devices to bring about a physical change: TENS units, therapeutic ultrasound, laser therapy, sine wave, kinesiology taping.
  • Movement Therapy – Exercise is vital to health. Finding the correct exercise prescription is based on individual goals, physical limitations, and the need to prevent pathology of genetic predispositions.
  • Herbal medicine – Herbs have both systemic and local effects, and by using whole plants as medicine, with all their complex interrelations, or in certain cases using specific isolated constituents, can help to stimulate the vis, to address symptoms, and to heal the system. Many plants have been thoroughly studied to show that the active compounds within the plant have direct effects on physiology.
  • Homeopathy – An energetic approach to give the smallest, gentlest, push to remind the body of what it is intended to do. Based on law of similar’s, follows herring’s law of cure: processes should heal from the top down (head to extremities), in to out or most important functioning organs to the least (internal organs towards the skin), and symptoms should disappear in reverse order from which they appeared (the most recent to disappear before the oldest). When these processes happen as expected it is verification that the correct remedy has been given.
  • Lifestyle intervention – Assessing a patient’s health promoting and health deteriorating behaviors, provides crucial information for creating treatment plans that encourage patients to improve their health every day.
  • Environmental Medicine – Encompasses the science of evaluating and understanding the unique exposures people have and what the consequences of said exposures are. The next step is to determine the appropriate interventions of removing the offending substance, clearing the body of the harmful invader, and preventing future consequences.
  • Laboratory evaluation – Utilizing modern laboratory processes to peek into the body and understand what processes may be under-functioning, or stressed. This information is used to aid in clinical decision making, from supplement and medication prescribing, to lifestyle interventions.
  • Acute and chronic illness management (functional medicine) – Is the practice of using the principles of biochemistry, physiology, and pathology in a systems-based fashion to explore the decline in proper return to homeostasis in the case of chronic disease management. As with all natural modalities, looking at how these processes are happening in the individual, and tailoring treatments specific to that individual.
  • Minor surgery – Sterilized field mole and lesion removal, suturing, and minor cosmetic procedures.
  • Cancer – Though not strictly under naturopathic licensure, integrated adjunct support can provide an array of techniques/modalities to those going through cancer treatment. From stimulating the vis, managing side effects, and maximizing nutrition, to directing modalities at helping improve the success of conventional chemotherapeutics.