What is the therapeutic order?

Naturopathic doctors differ from the traditional medical model, not so much by what is prescribed or by the six principles, but by following what is called the therapeutic order that directs the naturopathic doctor’s clinical decision-making.

Naturopathic medicine begins by creating the conditions for health through addressing lifestyle factors that affect health, such as diet, sleep, stress management, relationships, air quality, water intake, exercise, and spirituality. Setting the foundations for optimal health is the first step in preventing disease and promoting a lifetime of health and happiness.

2. Stimulate the Healing Power of Nature

The Healing Power of Nature or, in Latin, the Vis Medicatrix Naturae is the inherent healing force within every living being.  In Ayurvedic medicine, it is called prana.  In Chinese medicine it is called Qi.  In Homeopathy, it is called wesen.  Monotheistic religions refer to it as God.  Conventional medicine or the biological sciences call it homeostasis or metabolism. This force is stimulated in a variety of ways, but mainly by using therapies that have a gentle stimulatory, energetic effect that act to strengthen the vital force, awakening its ability to heal the body.

3. Strengthen Weakened Systems

This level of the Therapeutic Order is implemented when long-standing disease or lack of a solid health foundation results in a prolonged weakening of the body’s ability to heal, resulting in damage to organ systems. At this stage, naturopathic doctors use therapies to target the healing of specific organs or organ systems.

4. Correct Structural Integrity

Correcting structural integrity has to do with encouraging proper alignment of the skeletal and muscular systems. Proper alignment contributes to health by influencing circulation, nerve conduction, and organ position.

5. Use Natural Substances to Control Symptoms

. Symptom management is necessary in cases where:

  1. Symptoms are so unpleasant that immediate relief is necessary in order to move forward
  2. Addressing symptoms first establishes trust in the doctor-patient relationship
  3. The case is complicated and the root cause cannot be identified or is too complex to target immediately
  4. The patient is suffering from an acute condition
  5. There is an obstacle to cure that is difficult or impossible to remove
  6. The disease state is unresponsive to treatments for the top four rungs of the therapeutic order

6. Use Pharmaceutical Substances to Control Symptoms

7. Use High-Force, Invasive Interventions

When a patient’s condition warrants these treatments, which do not facilitate healing but rather the removal of invasive disease, supporting the healing power of nature, supporting organ systems, managing symptoms (or side effects of interventions) naturally and, eventually, establishing a healthy lifestyle foundation that will prevent re-occurrence of the same disease process later on.