Naturopathic medicine is based on six principles that I like to remind myself of on a regular basis. Anyone who works in healthcare can attest that sometimes it is very hard work. I believe there is value in reminding yourself and re-connecting with the reason you chose this path and remembering what your values are. However, with time and experience I’ve found the way I understand the principles is evolving and changing. They start to take on different meanings and more depth. So, here are some of the lessons I’ve garnered during my time in practice:
First, do no harm
I strongly believe that a major component of this principle is “informed consent” – patients must understand what they are agreeing to and be on-board with this treatment. I’ve come to realize that informed consent in women’s healthcare has fallen grossly by the wayside. When I came to realize this, this really upset me but has also lit a fire under me. Now one of my major goals is to empower women to understand their bodies, their hormones and invite them to play an active role in their well-being, and to give them options beyond just “the pill”.
Treat the whole person
I’ve always loved this principle because it is a reminder that we are all spiritual, mental, emotional and physical beings and all those things are intertwined. But, since starting practice I’ve REALLY started to understand how crucial this connection is. Health involves self-love. I’ve come to realize that the biggest obstacle for many is mindset and thought/belief patterns about themselves and if we don’t tackle that, the best lifestyle and nutrition plan in the world will only get you so far.
I think prevention is one of the most underrated things out there. Prevention doesn’t sell. It isn’t flashy. It doesn’t guarantee quick results. It is hard to conceptualize. It is even hard to study. But it is what people actually want. Prevention is often understood as “avoiding “x” disease…” but to me, prevention simply means acknowledging that the choices we make today could have an impact on the way we feel tomorrow and further down the line. Patients rarely say “I want to avoid cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer's.” They usually say “I want more energy”, “I want to feel good”. Either way you put it, the action steps are the same and it starts with what we do today. I think prevention is just being proactive and taking some ownership over your health.