The art of medicine has its roots in the heart.
Naturopathic Medicine is a comprehensive approach to disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention utilizing nature-based therapies. The primary focus is to provide the least invasive, most efficacious, nontoxic therapies that address the cause of illness, not simply the suppression of symptoms. The natural healing tradition is ancient, stemming from before the time of Hippocrates. Naturopathic Medicine draws upon this historic therapeutic knowledge and combines it with modern, science-based medical research. Naturopathic physicians maintain an open-minded perspective allowing for the use of any therapy, old or new, as long as it adheres to the core philosophy and principles of naturopathic medicine.
Naturopathic physicians are the primary care general practitioners of natural medicine. As in conventional medical school, applicants must show competency in specific, premedical requirements before being accepted to a U.S. Department of Education-accredited naturopathic medical school. After acceptance, ND candidates complete a rigorous, four-year academic and clinical program. This program combines the study of western medical sciences (such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, immunology, clinical and physical diagnosis, laboratory diagnosis, cardiology, gastroenterology, gynecology, etc.) with naturopathic therapies and philosophy.
Training also includes an applied clinical apprenticeship during the last two years. Naturopathic physicians must then pass standardized, federal, and state licensing exams to obtain a license.
Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.
Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture
Chinese Medicine is a medical healing art and science that originated over 3,000 years ago. This system of medicine is based on the belief that health is determined by a balanced flow of “Qi”, the vital life energy present in all living organisms. The primary methods used to bring balance to the body include acupuncture, Chinese herbs, cupping, moxibustion (a form of heat therapy), and Qi Gong. Qi circulates in the body along fourteen major energy pathways, known as meridians, that are linked to specific internal organ systems. Disease arises when the flow of Qi is impaired. The work of the practitioner is to determine the state of Qi, through careful questioning and observation, and to restore its free, energetic flow through the formulation of a treatment plan. There are hundreds of acupuncture points within the body that can be stimulated by the insertion of microthin needles just beneath the skin. These points help rebalance the flow of energy and consequently restore health. Patients typically experience deep relaxation during and after their treatment as the flow of energy is restored. Acupuncture is effective for treating a variety of conditions. The number of treatments required varies according to a person’s vitality and whether their condition is acute or chronic in nature.
The Six Principals of Healing
Primum non nocere
The first thing is to do no harm
Healing includes the production of symptoms or expressions of the body’s attempt to self-heal. Methods designed to suppress such symptoms, without addressing the root cause of disease, are viewed as harmful and are minimized or avoided. Naturopathic doctors use non-toxic methods and natural medicinal substances, which are safe and effective, with an emphasis on minimal side effects, to aid the body in its intrinsic endeavor to move toward optimal health and vitality.
Vis medicatrix naturae
The healing power of nature
The objective of naturopathic medicine is to facilitate and enhance the body’s innate ability to heal, to identify and remove obstacles to that healing, and to support the formation of a healthy internal and external environment. NDs use nontoxic, nature-based treatments, including vitamins, minerals, herbs, diet and lifestyle, along with other alternative medicine therapies, to achieve this purpose.
Identify and treat the cause
Instead of suppressing symptoms and leaving the underlying disease intact, naturopathic doctors determine the root cause of illness and treat patients accordingly. Symptoms are expressions of the body’s attempt to restore health, not the cause of disease. One wouldn’t solely take painkillers for a broken bone—the bone, the root cause of the pain, must be set in order for true healing to occur.
Treat the whole person
NDs take into account not only the physical, but also the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of each patient. Additionally, environmental exposures, genetic predispositions, nutritional status, lifestyle, and social factors are also considered. Naturopathic doctors recognize that harmonious functioning of each entity of the individual is an essential component to recovery from, and prevention of, disease. Each individual experiences disease in a unique way and NDs respect that individual process by using personalized, comprehensive approaches to wellness.
A partnership between doctor and patient has great therapeutic value in the journey towards optimal health and vitality. Educating patients empowers them in their healing process and establishes self-responsibility for health and wellness. It is the patient who ultimately creates healing, as their naturopathic doctor provides an environment of hope, encouragement, and guidance.
NDs emphasize building health rather than fighting disease. Prevention is the best remedy for disease and is facilitated through assessment of risk factors and susceptibilities as well as a promotion of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
“Since being diagnosed with lupus about ten years ago, I have tried many different types of treatment and therapy.
It was not until suffering from duodenal ulcers, from the medications I was taking, that I was introduced to Dr. Frigerio by my chiropractor. Not only has Dr. Frigerio given me the simple tools to cure the ulcers, but, through acupuncture, has alleviated my pain so that it is not necessary to take the medications that were really causing long-term harm. It is not only refreshing but, I believe, necessary, to find a practitioner who takes a holistic approach and treats mind, body, and spirit, as well as Dr. Frigerio, does.”