Latest Edit: Hector
First, Do No Harm or primum non nocere has been a principle of medicine since the time of Hipprocates. From a naturopathic perspective, it refers to not only the patient but to the patient's vital force. A naturopathic practitioner applies this principle by:
- choosing diagnostic techniques that are non-invasive, whenever possible
- choosing treatments that support the innate healing ability of the body
- choosing treatments that honour the laws of nature
- teaching patients insight and awareness of how lifestyle choices and other factors affect their health
Naturopathic doctors work on the basis that there is a hierarchy to treatment choices. To do no harm, a physician chooses the therapy, and fashions the most gentle and non-invasive strategy to achieve the desired outcome for each individual patient. In situations, especially when the progression of disease is advanced or the current state is critical, it is necessary to chose aggressive treatments or treatments that pose the risk of adverse effects. An aggressive treatment may require referral for drugs or surgery, but at times it can be accomplished by changing many lifestyle, environmental or external factors at once and/or by addressing social or stressful situations more directly. By respecting the integrity and vitality of each patient the healing process is supported versus overridden or suppressed.
Do no harm involves physicians teaching their patients how to have more insight and awareness of how their lifestyle choices affect their health. Identifying and respecting the healing intention and capacity of each person is an essential part of naturopathic care.