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Foundations of the naturopathic medicine profession

What is naturopathic medicine ? In this short summary, we will define the naturopathic medicine profession.
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Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of traditional medicine practised worldwide for centuries.

Before we unpack what naturopathic medicine is, it is essential to understand what a traditional medicine system is to comprehend naturopathic medicine fully.

What is a traditional medicine system?

A traditional medicine system refers to a health care profession that uses clinical skills, knowledge and practices governed by philosophical theories to guide the application of traditional medicines in contemporary health care. These traditional medicine systems often have a long-standing history and may also be part of indigenous cultures. The knowledge in a traditional medicine system can be supported by literature such as historical books and records or passed down verbally through generations of teaching. Traditional medicine systems not only focus on providing care to the public to maintain health and well-being but may also diagnose and treat various illnesses and diseases.

Based on this definition of traditional medicine systems, naturopathic medicine has solid historical roots in Europe, where the Nature Care movement has greatly influenced the profession by incorporating herbal medicine, hydrotherapy, nutrition, diet, and lifestyle approaches to manage health and disease Lloyd, 2021. While many other traditional medicine systems may use some of these approaches in their practice, philosophy is one of the main aspects of naturopathic medicine that can distinguish the profession from other health care professions.

Naturopathic medicine philosophy is the basis of how naturopaths practise through an individualised and patient-centric approach. The philosophy of naturopathic medicine is based on three core areas relating to philosophy, theories, and principles. Through the philosophical approach to care, naturopaths use many disciplines or approaches that may benefit patient care, including botanical medicine, nutritional medicine, lifestyle recommendations and dietary counselling. Depending on education and training, some naturopaths may also use massage therapy and mind-body medicine in their clinical practice. While there are some differences in naturopathic practice from a global view, the philosophy of naturopathic medicine is the same.

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Fundamentals of Naturopathic Medicine

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