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 Dr. Valeria Birch Dr. Valeria Birch

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

The art of healing comes from nature and not from the physician. Therefore, the physician must start from nature with an open mind.

The practice of Naturopathic Medicine can be explained most simply as helping the human body and mind heal itself in the least invasive, most fundamentally curative manner possible. This approach is not tied to any particular therapy or modality. Naturopathic Doctors build their practices to meet their interests in certain modalities and skills. However they are following the basic principals of the profession.

The principals of Naturopathic Medicine:

  • The healing power of nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae).

    “Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.”Nature acts powerfully through healing mechanisms in the body and mind to restore and maintain health. Naturopathic Doctors work to restore and support this process of healing by using methods, medicines, and techniques that are in harmony with natural processes.

  • “All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.”Identify and treat the cause (Tolle causam).

    Every illness has an underlying cause, often in aspects of the life-style, diet or habits of the individual. A Naturopathic Doctor is trained to find and remove the underlying cause of disease, rather than simply treat the symptoms.

  • “As to diseases, make a habit of two things - to help, or at least, to do no harm.” First do no harm (Primum non nocere).

    Naturopathic Doctors prefer methods of treatment that minimize the risk of side-effects. They are trained to know which patients they can treat safely, and they acknowledge, respect and refer to other health care practitioners.

  • "The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds."Doctor as a teacher (Docere).

    A principal objective of Naturopathic Medicine is to educate the patient and emphasize self-responsibility for health. Naturopathic Doctors also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.

  • “It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.”Treat the whole person (Tolle Totum).

    Health or disease comes from a complex interaction of physical, emotional, dietary, genetic, environmental, social and other factors. Naturopathic Doctors work with the whole person, taking these factors into account.

  • Prevention.

    “Prevention is better than cure.” The Naturopathic approach to health care can prevent minor illnesses from developing into more serious or chronic degenerative diseases. Naturopathic Doctors are assessing the risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease and making appropriate changes and decisions together with the patient to prevent diseases.

Therapeutic Modalities.

  • Clinical Nutrition. Since the olden days nutrition has been a major therapeutic tool. Poor dietary choices and digestive problems play a major role in disease processes. Nutritional supplement (vitamins, minerals etc.) are used as complementary agents, not as sole primary medicines. "Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food" said Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine".

  • Botanical Medicine. Based on diverse cultural experience, proven for millennia, the use of plant formulations in the treatment of various conditions. World Health Organization estimates that 80% of the world’s population use herbs as primary medicines.

  • Physical Medicine. The therapeutic use of water, light, electricity, ultrasound, massage, manipulation and exercise.

  • Homeopathy. Highly systematic method of directly and naturally stimulating the body’s innate healing power to cure itself on all levels, physical, mental and emotional.

  • Oriental Medicine. Thousands years old, it is comprehensive system of treatment that includes acupuncture, acupressure, massage and unique herbal medicines.

  • Counseling and Stress Management. Mental attitude and emotional state are important elements of the healing process. Counseling and stress management are incorporated in the naturopathic approach.

Scope of practice of Naturopathic Doctor depends on the licensing law and may vary from state to state. To find more about naturopathic medicine please call Dr. Birch. 202-341-5522

Valeria V. Birch, Naturopathic Doctor (ND)
Serving Northern Virginia and Washington DC.