Naturopathic philosophy

The education and training of primary care providers and naturopathic doctors are very similar. The differences between the two stem mainly in philosophy. Naturopathic doctors believe the body has an innate ability to heal.  And we see this all of the time! If we skin our knee or cut ourselves, the body stops the bleeding, produces a scab and makes new skin all on its own!  If you get a cold, you eventually get over it...and faster if you rest and support the immune system. The body is the most miraculous thing on the planet and it knows what to do to heal and return to balance. Naturopathic doctors believe our job is to remove impediments to healing and stimulate the body to do its job.

Naturopathic doctors follow five principles of healing


The ultimate goal of naturopathic medicine is prevention. This is accomplished through education and promotion of lifestyle habits that foster good health. The doctor assesses risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease and makes appropriate interventions to avoid further harm and risk to the patient. The emphasis is on building health rather than on fighting disease.

Doctor as a Teacher

Beyond an accurate diagnosis and appropriate prescription, the doctor works to create a healthy, sensitive interpersonal relationship with the patient. A cooperative doctor-patient relationship has inherent therapeutic value. The doctor’s major role is to educate and encourage the patient to take responsibility for his or her own health. The doctor is a catalyst for healthful change, empowering and motivating the patient to assume responsibility. It is the patient, not the doctor, who ultimately creates or accomplishes healing.

Treat the Whole Person

Health and disease are conditions of the whole organism, involving a complex interaction of physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, and social factors. The goal is to treat the whole person by taking all of these factors into account. The harmonious functioning of all aspects of the individual is essential to recovery from and prevention of disease, and requires a personalized and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment.

First do no Harm

The process of healing includes the generation of symptoms, which are, in fact, expressions of the life force attempting to heal itself. Therapeutic actions should be complementary to and synergistic with this healing process. Interventions can inherently support or antagonize the body’s natural ability to heal; therefore, methods designed to suppress symptoms without removing underlying causes are considered harmful and are avoided or minimized.

Identify and Treat the Cause

Illness does not occur without cause. Underlying causes of disease need to be discovered and removed or treated before a person can recover completely from illness. Symptoms are expressions of the body’s attempt to heal, but are not the cause of disease; therefore, naturopathic medicine addresses itself primarily to the underlying causes of disease, rather than to the symptoms. Causes may occur on many levels, including physical, mental-emotional, and spiritual. The doctor’s goal is to evaluate fundamental underlying causes on multiple levels, directing treatment at root causes as well as seeking relief of symptoms.

The Healing Power of Nature

The body has the inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. The healing process directed by the life force is ordered and intelligent. The doctor’s role is to facilitate and augment this process, to identify and remove obstacles to health and recovery, and to support the creation of a healthy internal and external environment.

Naturopathic Education

In Colorado, registered Naturopathic Doctors are required to attend a 4 year, resident naturopathic medical school that is accredited by the Federal Department of Education. Once their educational and clinical hours are completed, they must then pass a national board exam (NPLEX) that is administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE).  There are six accredited naturopathic medical schools in North America.

Bastyr University

Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine

Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM)
National University of Health Sciences (NUHS)
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine

 University of Bridgeport

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