Health, the "natural state" of one's body, is disturbed by obstacles that lead to disease. The first step in returning to good health is to remove the entities that disturb health such as: poor diet, digestive disturbances, inappropriate and chronic stress levels, and individual disharmony. ND's construct a healthy regimen based on an individual's "obstacles to health" to change and improve the terrain in which the disease developed. This allows additional therapeutics to have the most beneficial effects possible.
Naturopathic Doctors use therapies to stimulate and strengthen the body's innate self-healing and curative abilities. These therapies include modalities such as clinical nutrition, botanical/herbal medicines, constitutional hydrotherapy, homeopathy, physical therapy, chinese medicine and acupuncture.
Systems that need repair are addressed at this level of healing. Naturopathic doctors have an arsenal of therapeutics available to enhance specific tissues, organs or systems including: lifestyle interventions, dietary modifications, botanical medicine, orthomolecular therapy (use of substances that occur naturally in the body such as vitamins, amino acids, minerals), homeopathy, and more.
Physical modalities such as spinal manipulation, massage therapy, and craniosacral therapy are used to improve and maintain skeletal and musculature integrity.
Naturopathic medicine's primary objective is to restore health, not to treat pathology. However, when a specific pathology must be addressed, ND's employ safe, effective, natural substances that do not add toxicity or additionally burden the already distressed body.
NDs are trained in pharmacology and how to use pharmaceutical drugs when necessary. If their state license permits, they can prescribe these agents themselves. In Montana, ND's have prescriptive authority and can prescribe controlled substances which have been deemed as "natural," such as: antibiotics, fungicides, vaccinations, opiates like morpheine and codeine, and hormones. ND's typically do not have access to prescribing synthetic substances which ironically are not natural and make up the bulk of the best selling prescription medications.
Surgery, Radiation, Chemotherapy. When life, limb, or function must be preserved, NDs refer patients to MDs who are expertly trained in these arenas. At the same time, NDs use complementary or supportive therapies to decrease side effects and increase the effectiveness of these invasive procedures.