About the medicine: There are 6 principles that guide naturopathic health care. The Latin phrases and English translations are listed below.
- Primum non nocere – First, do no harm. Harm should not be inflicted by neglect of symptoms or by overuse of medicines. Naturopathic medicine is intended to be gentle and effective, using the lowest force of intervention to shift a patient toward health.
- Tolle causam – Treat the cause, not just the effect. A collection of symptoms is the language that the body uses to communicate. These symptoms are valuable clues that can be used to determine the cause of the illness. Rather than treating the symptoms, naturopathic medicine aims to determine (and to treat) the true cause of illness.
- Tolle totum – Treat the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. The essence of a person’s health reaches beyond their physical or mental symptoms. Reconnecting with our “wholeness” is a vital component of health. Consideration of social and environmental influences are also important to understanding the wholeness (and health) of both the individual and the community.
- Docere – Doctor as teacher. The word “doctor” originates from the Latin verb “docere” which translates into English as “to teach.” Education about health is an important aspect of patient care. When a doctor provides explanations about the mechanisms of the body, the patients can make educated choices about their health care and take an active role in their well-being.
- Vis Medicatrix Naturae – Healing Power of Nature. The body has a natural ability to heal. An abundance of healing can be received through connection to nature and utilization of the natural medicines that are available to us.
- Praevenire – Prevention is the best cure. The positive actions that are taken today can have a profound influence on health. It is never too late to start taking positive actions toward health! Sometimes the first step toward prevention is starting a conversation with someone who can help to guide you toward your health goals.
I like to add a 7th principle to the list: Intention. I want to approach each of my patients with the positive intention that we will find the best medicine for achieving health. The definition of “medicine” can be broad in this context, and I look forward to finding that optimal fit for you. I want you to also hold the intention that you are making a positive and sustainable impact on your well-being through new choices, a sense of humor (laughter CAN be the best medicine!), and freedom from self-judgement.
Autumn W. Farr, M.S., N.D.