The Founding Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
As Naturopathic Medicine becomes increasingly popular, (there are now over 400 licensed California-licensed natural medicine primary care doctors) many people have been wondering, "What exactly is Naturopathy?"
This is the first of three parts on the six guiding principles of naturopathic medicine - founded on medical tradition and scientific evidence. These principles are the foundation that all naturopathic doctors use to diagnose and treat patients.
The first principle that defines naturopathic medicine is to treat the cause, not merely the symptoms. If we compare our bodies to our cars, we know that there are a whole host of warning lights that can indicate potential problems, such as the "check engine" or "low gas" lights. When these lights appear, do we disconnect the light so we don't see it or do we try to find and fix the problem?
Likewise, when we experience pain, headaches, low energy, mood disorders, etc. - these are our body's "warning lights" that something is wrong. We can ignore the problem and hope it goes away and risk serious complications, another option is to take pharmaceutical drugs to mask these symptoms. And yet another option is to heed the messages and begin to understand what the underlying issues are.
Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are committed to helping their patients get answers to what might be causing their symptoms. Using depression as an example, is this very serious medical condition caused by an anti-depressant drug deficiency? Or, instead, could the problem be an imbalance of neurotransmitters and a lack of important nutrients (vitamin D, B vitamins, etc) that the brain needs to function properly?
The second principle in naturopathic medicine is do no harm. Hippocrates' instruction to physicians clearly states that whatever intervention a doctor can make is only acceptable if it will do no further damage to the patient's health. A good example of a naturopathic approach to healing a bacterial infection is, instead of killing all the body's bacteria with antibiotics (anti-life), to get rid of the "bad" bacteria, ND's would instead strengthen the body's immune system. Antibiotics rearrange the body's microorganisms, leaving an individuals' immune system weakened, and ripe for a very serious yeast infection. Although there are situations that antibiotics might be necessary, NDs would prefer to try a more natural, non-toxic approach.
Another example of this principle is to not suppress symptoms, which are the body's efforts to self-heal. The body may cook up a fever in reaction to a bacterial infection, and as our body heats up, it creates an inhospitable environment for the harmful bacteria, thereby destroying it. Of course, the ND would not allow the fever to get dangerously high, but also would not turn to fever-reducers as a first step.
Stay tuned for the next four principles of Naturopathic Medicine, and in the meantime, please feel free to contact Dr. Godby, ND at DrGodby@SacND.com or Meghan at DietitianMeghan@SacND.com with comments or questions.
Dr. Dennis Godby, Doctor of Naturopathy, Sutter Medical Foundation.
He may be reached online or at his Sacramento Office (916) 446-2591.
Placer County News HeadlinesRoseville Crime Report Digest Update (7.2.15)Roseville, CA - Weekly crime report digest update for Roseville, July 2, 2015.
50 Days of the Grateful Dead: One More Saturday NightA return to 1972 across the pond at Wembley Empire Pool find The Dead ripping through a scorching version of One More Saturday Night
Opinion: Let's Be CivilAccelerating the decline of citizen engagement in our government are two notable demographic shifts underway
Roseville Hosting Chicks with Sticks Lacrosse TournamentSwashbuckler Lacrosse is breaking new ground with their upcoming Chicks with Sticks Lacrosse Tournament on July 11-12
John Adams Academy Finalizes Purchase of Campus in RosevilleRoseville, CA - Officials from John Adams Academy (JAA) charter school in Roseville announced today they have finalized the purchase of the former Heald College building
Placer County Foster Children in Need of Mentor VolunteersChild Advocates of Placer County is currently in need of 30 new volunteers to become Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) or Mentors
50 Days of the Grateful Dead: Lady with a FanWe're like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but the people who like licorice really like licorice." ~ Jerry Garcia
Dots and dashes changed Zachary Barnum's lifeThis 17-year-old resident of Fredericksburg, Virginia, who is legally blind in one eye due to optic nerve hypoplasia and has a form of bipolar disorder (ATOU Cares.org)
Dry Lightning Boosts Northern California Fire RiskDrought Watch: CAL FIRE has increased staffing due to forecasted dry lightning and strong winds throughout much of northern California
California Senate Committee Kills Sex Offender Bill SB54Senator Sharon Runner (R-Antelope Valley) announced her legislation to make sex-offender residency restrictions more workable
Fireworks Safety Tips this Fourth of JulyWith the Independence Day holiday rapidly approaching, CAL FIRE is reminding all Californians and visitors to do their part to prevent fires caused by illegal fireworks
California Lowers Excise Tax Rate on GasState Board of Equalization Vice Chair George Runner announced that California's excise tax on gasoline will decrease by six cents per gallon