Naturopathic Medicine as a System Of Primary Health Care | Universidad Ana G. Méndez, Recinto de Gurabo

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Naturopathic Medicine as a System Of Primary Health Care


Naturopathic Medicine as a System of Primary Health Care

Naturopathic medicine is a system of primary health care practiced by naturopathic physicians for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. Naturopathic Medicine is a comprehensive system of health care within the complementary and alternative medicine world that incorporates many modalities. Naturopathic physicians encourage the self-healing abilities of the individual through the education and promotion of therapeutic methods and modalities. Naturopathic practice blends centuries of old knowledge on natural, nontoxic therapies with current advances in the understanding of health and human systems (Bastyr University Catalog, 1999/2000). Naturopathic physicians are typically trained in a wide array of alternative therapies including herbology, homeopathy, massage, hydrotherapy, physical medicine, behavioral medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, acupuncture, and nutrition therapy, as well as clinical practices such as minor surgery, pharmacology and obstetrics.

The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, the primary professional association for naturopathic physicians, defines naturopathic medicine as a distinct system of primary health care; an art, science, philosophy and practice of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illness. Naturopathic medicine is distinguished by the principles upon which its practice is based. These principles are continually reexamined in the light of scientific advances. The techniques of naturopathic medicine include modern and traditional, scientific and empirical methods.

The naturopathic physician is defined by the U.S. Department of Labor as one who diagnoses, treats, and cares for patients using a system of practice that bases treatment of physiological function and abnormal conditions on natural laws governing the body. According to the same source this professional utilizes physiological, psychological, and mechanical methods such as air, water, light, heat, earth, food and herb therapy, psychotherapy, electrotherapy, physiotherapy; minor and orificial surgery, mechanotherapy, naturopathic corrections and manipulations, and natural methods/modalities, together with natural medicines, natural processed foods and herbs and nature’s remedies. Major surgery, therapeutic use of x-ray and radium, and use of drugs are excluded, except those assimilable substances containing elements or compounds which are components of body tissues and are physiologically compatible to body processes for maintenance of life.

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