The Naturopathic Physician is a primary health care provider of naturopathic medicine. He or she uses complementary and alternative therapies along with mainstream medical practice, with the goal of treating underlying causes of disease while stimulating the body's own healing abilities. Natural remedies are generally chosen in favor of pharmaceuticals, but a holistic approach is used and many physicians advocate conventional treatments alongside naturopathic ones.
Some of the key philosophies of naturopathy include:
the idea that patients should take individual responsibility for their own health
a holistic focus on how the structural and physiological, psychological, social, and spiritual, and environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to overall health
diagnosing from a naturalistic perspective, viewing disease as being caused by physiological imbalance, lifestyle deficiencies, stress, or environmental influences
treatment with a wide range of natural therapies
an emphasis on disease prevention and promotion of good heath
Some of the underlying causes of disease that are considered include exposure to chemicals or toxic substances; impurities of air, water or food; physical and psychological stress; poor nutrition; and lifestyle factors. The Naturopathic Physician designs an individualized treatment plan and prescribes natural treatments such as:
homeopathic or botanical medicine
acupuncture and other oriental remedies
massage therapy, hydrotherapy, and other physical activities
nutrition and diet
A Naturopathic Physician will refer patients to other practitioners if treatment is outside the naturopathic scope of practice.