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definition of naturopathic medicine

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Naturopathic medicine is a dynamic system of health care and disease prevention that combines modern scientific knowledge with natural forms of medicine (non-pharmaceutical). 

A naturopathic doctor is a primary care practitioner that seeks to restore and maintain optimum health in their patients by emphasizing the body's inherent self-healing process.


A naturopathic doctor views the individual as an integral whole including the physiological, structural, psychological, social, spiritual, environmental and lifestyle factors affecting health. Symptoms of disease are seen as warning signals of improper functioning of the body and unfavourable lifestyle habits.


Naturopathic medicine emphasizes disease as a process rather than disease as an entity. The primary goal is to treat the underlying cause of the disease. This approach has proven successful in treating both chronic and acute conditions. Treatments are chosen based on the individual patient, not based on the generality of symptoms.


Naturopathic doctors can also complement and enhance health care services provided by other health care professionals. They cooperate with other branches of medical science referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate. Naturopathic doctors provide patients with a truly integrative form of health care.

In Canada, the naturopathic medical profession’s infrastructure includes accredited educational institutions, professional licensing (provincially and nationally), national standards of practice, participation in many federal health committee initiatives, and a commitment to ongoing state-of-the-art scientific research. 

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