Principles of Naturopathic Medicine: First, Do No Harm

Primum non Nocere means First, do no harm. This is a principle that seems to go without saying, yet isn’t as widely practiced as we might assume. No doctor sets out to do harm to a patient. Yet, we discover that harm does occur. There are unintended consequences of many pharmaceutical drugs that can bring about harm. Side effects such as depression and anxiety can bring about self-harm. Even natural remedies, if not prescribed or dosed correctly, can potentially bring about harm.

A variety of herbs, labeled as “toxic” in higher doses, can be used in low doses or homeopathically, to stimulate the body back to proper design and function without any threat or harm. If a medicine is used to stimulate the body, rather than taking over function, there is little or no harm that occurs. When we change diet and lifestyle, there is no harm, just a restoration to better function.

Vitalistic naturopathic medicine looks to stimulate the body with various modalities (types of treatments) so that there is no harm. In fact, not only is there no harm, but the body is strengthened and tonified. The body restores itself back to health. Our goal is to prompt, guide, and support the body, not to take over its function.

With any form of treatment, there can be aggravations (seemingly negative responses to a treatment) that may not initially feel like healing but they have to occur in the healing process. The body is not harmed-- rather it is a positive step towards healing, as the body has to be allowed to react and discharge. That discharge can come in the form of fevers, diarrhea, skin eruptions, tears, and in some cases anger or even laughter. It’s the body’s response and reaction to the treatment in order to remove waste and build-up in the body. There is no harm to the body, assuming the discharge is allowed to complete its course.

Vitalistic treatments and methods are uniquely designed to be stimulating, not harmful, to the patient in order to restore the body’s design and function.