In celebration of U.S. Senate’s unanimous passage of a resolution (S. Res. 221) that establishes October 7-13, 2013 as Naturopathic Medicine Week, I’d like to share the principles of naturopathic medicine that inspired me to become a Naturopathic Doctor and that continue to guide me in my practice every day.
Naturopathic Medicine is guided by six principles:
- The healing power of nature
- Identify and treat the cause
- First do no harm
- Doctor as teacher
- Treat the whole person
While all of these principles guide my practice, I continually find myself drawn to the principle of “Treating the Whole Person.” My patients are more than a collection of symptoms and disease. They are people, each with their own sets of hopes, dreams, expectations, stress, fears, and worry. Research continues to show us that our mental and emotional attitudes play critical roles in our physical healing processes. So, any treatment is incomplete if, as a provider, I am not addressing the mental/emotional component.
In today’s modern medical culture, the emphasis on symptoms and efficiency has crowded out the practitioners’ ability to get to know the patient, understand their anxieties and what motivates them towards wellness. Naturopathic Medicine as a system of medicine, brings back this time-honored and -tested facet of the doctor-patient relationship, truly making it a healthcare partnership. This is where a patient’s goals are clearly stated, their concerns and obstacles are understood, and a plan of action is crafted.
Our minds and spirits are potent healing tools when properly engaged, and as a Naturopathic Doctor, I want my patients to understand what powerful effects they can have – not just in their bodies, but in every aspect of their lives. By helping a patient learn to relieve stress, not only does the body begin to heal, but relationships are strengthened, confidence is renewed and brighter outlooks on life are restored.
-Posted by Sarah Giardenelli, ND, MSOM, LAc.