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Naturopathic Therapeutic Order

Understanding the Naturopathic Therapeutic Order: A Holistic Approach to Healing

Naturopathic doctors adhere to a comprehensive framework known as the naturopathic therapeutic order. This therapeutic order serves as a guiding framework for naturopathic doctors (NDs) to develop personalized treatment plans. It outlines a hierarchical approach to healing, emphasizing the use of the least invasive and most natural therapies first, before progressing to more aggressive interventions as necessary. Let's dive into what the naturopathic therapeutic order entails and how it shapes the practice of naturopathic medicine.

  1. Establish the Foundations of Health: The first step in the naturopathic therapeutic order involves creating a solid foundation for health. This includes optimizing nutrition, hydration, sleep, and stress management, as well as addressing lifestyle factors such as physical activity and environmental exposures.

  1. Stimulate the Healing Power of Nature: Naturopathic doctors recognize the body's inherent ability to heal itself when the body is provided with the proper support. NDs use nutrition, dietary supplements, botanical medicine, physical medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, and more to help stimulate the body’s innate healing processes.

  1. Support Weakened or Damaged Systems: In cases where disease has progressed or the body's systems are compromised, targeted therapies are employed to support and restore function to affected organs and tissues. This may include diet and lifestyle modifications, botanical medicine, homeopathy, and other natural therapies, with the intent to heal specific organs or body systems that may be weakened or damaged. 

  1. Correct Structural Integrity: Structural imbalances in the muscles and joints can contribute to pain, dysfunction, and overall health issues. Naturopathic physical medicine aims to restore proper alignment and function to the musculoskeletal system.

  1. Alleviate Symptoms and Treat Disease with Natural Therapies: While the main goal of naturopathic medicine is to restore overall health holistically rather than merely eliminate symptoms, there are situations where addressing specific health issues becomes necessary. NDs recommend natural therapies that work in harmony with the body's physiology. The use of natural therapies, such as dietary supplements, herbal medicines, and homeopathy, aims to alleviate symptoms and disease burden without causing harmful side effects or added stress on the body. 

  1. Alleviate Symptoms and Treat Disease with Pharmaceutical Medications: At times, employing stronger treatment measures involving pharmaceutical medications may be essential for alleviating symptoms and managing illnesses, particularly when the disease's impact is significantly reducing the patient's quality of life or poses safety risks. NDs are trained in the use of pharmaceutical medications for treating primary care conditions. They recognize the potential dangers of untreated diseases and prioritize their patients' well-being. If unable to prescribe medications, NDs will refer patients to other healthcare providers for medication management when necessary or preferred by the patient.

  1. Use of High-Force Interventions: The use of high-force interventions may include pharmaceutical medications, surgery, or other special procedures to suppress pathology or provide palliative care. While these interventions often don’t tackle the underlying causes of illness, they may be necessary to address severe disease and the patient’s comfort or safety. NDs discuss treatment options and preferences with their patients, and will refer to the appropriate health care provider or specialist when necessary.

Naturopathic doctors approach each patient as a unique individual, taking into account their overall wellbeing. By following the naturopathic therapeutic order, NDs offer a gentle and personalized approach to healing. The therapeutic order is utilized in many ways by NDs in their practice of naturopathic medicine. 

NDs perform comprehensive health assessments to identify underlying imbalances and contributing factors to the patient's health concerns. This may include reviewing medical history, performing physical exams, and ordering laboratory tests and imaging procedures. NDs spend an average of 90 minutes during a new patient appointment to allow enough time to discuss the patient’s medical history, foundations of health, and specific health concerns in detail.

Based on health assessment findings, NDs develop individualized treatment plans that prioritize natural, non-invasive therapies whenever possible. Treatment modalities used by NDs in Minnesota include the following:

  • Clinical Nutrition

  • Lifestyle Counseling

  • Dietary Supplements

  • Orthomolecular Therapy

  • Botanical Medicine

  • Homeopathy

  • Hydrotherapy

  • Naturopathic Physical Medicine

  • Naturopathic Physiotherapy

Naturopathic doctors empower patients to take an active role in their healing journey by providing education, guidance, and support. Patients are encouraged to make informed choices about their health, fostering a sense of ownership and accountability.

NDs often work collaboratively with other healthcare providers to ensure comprehensive and integrated care for their patients. This may involve referring patients to specialists or coordinating care with primary care physicians, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and other practitioners.

In conclusion, the naturopathic therapeutic order embodies the fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine, guiding practitioners in the art and science of holistic healing. By prioritizing natural therapies, addressing root causes, and empowering patients to take charge of their health, naturopathic doctors strive to not only alleviate symptoms but also restore balance and promote wellness on all levels – body, mind, and spirit.


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