Search
Close this search box.

What do Naturopathic Doctors Mean by Identify and Treat the Root Cause?

In this article:

Amy Rothenberg, ND with INM & AANP

Naturopathic doctors distinguish symptoms from underlying root causes; symptoms express a body’s attempts to heal, similar to the way a car’s check engine light demonstrates an engine’s unresolved issues.

NDs’ goal is to uncover and help heal the root causes of illness whenever possible.

Trained to treat the whole person, NDs evaluate and treat multiple root causes, including diet, lifestyle, psycho-emotional issues and more.

NDs may be a good fit for individuals who have struggled with unresolved symptoms for months or years.

What do naturopathic doctors mean by identify and treat the root cause?

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) follow six guiding principles that influence how they think about medicine, how they make clinical decisions, and most importantly, how they treat you as a patient. Each principle plays a role in guiding naturopathic doctors through diagnosis and treatment. Identify and treat the root cause of illness is one of these six core principles.

When it comes to illness, naturopathic doctors distinguish symptoms from underlying root causes. While symptoms are the body’s way of communicating problems, they are not the cause of illness. Symptoms express a body’s attempts to heal, similar to the way a car’s check engine light demonstrates an engine’s unresolved issues.

Uncovering the Root Causes

Naturopathic doctors are trained to find and treat what’s “under the hood.” While they can and do provide relief from symptoms using natural approaches first whenever possible, their goal is to uncover and help heal the root causes of illness. In doing so, they facilitate the natural healing ability in patients, so that symptoms can be alleviated naturally.

NDs believe that identifying and addressing the underlying root causes of disease whenever possible leads to the most positive and enduring health outcomes for patients.

Multiple Factors Contribute to Healing

Multiple factors contribute to both health and illness, including: diet, lifestyle, genetics, psycho-emotional, spiritual, socioeconomic, environmental issues, and more. Trained to treat the whole person, licensed naturopathic doctors utilize the Therapeutic Order[1] as a framework to help uncover, evaluate, and treat multiple obstacles to good health, which are also frequently root causes of illness.

For example, NDs recognize that lifestyle choices are a central contributor to chronic disease. Among U.S. adults, 90 percent of Type 2 diabetes, 80 percent of cardiovascular disease, 70 percent of stroke, and 70 percent of colon cancer are potentially preventable by modifiable lifestyle changes. NDs’ rigorous training in areas such as clinical nutrition, lifestyle counseling, botanical medicine, and more makes them expert at prescribing and supporting essential, effective lifestyle modifications.

A Quality “Fix”

While it is human nature to want a “quick fix,” achieving and maintaining good health takes time and work. To identify root causes of illness, NDs often spend one hour or more with patients in an initial appointment, compared to an average 20 minute appointment with a conventionally trained medical doctor.

Because they focus on root causes, naturopathic doctors may be a good fit for individuals who have struggled with unresolved symptoms for months or years. Working together with a licensed naturopathic doctor can help you or your loved one determine the underlying cause(s) of your health concerns, and help you on your road to better health.

The AANP and the INM would like to acknowledge Amy Rothenberg, ND, for her contributions to the content of this FAQ.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273634914_A_Hierarchy_of_Healing_The_Therapeutic_Order_A_Unifying_Theory

Experience the benefits of personalized natural healthcare with a trusted, licensed naturopathic doctor in your area.
Find a Naturopathic Doctor
Experience the benefits of personalized natural healthcare with a trusted, licensed naturopathic doctor in your area.
Find an ND

This article is provided by

The Institute for Natural Medicine, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. INM’s mission is to transform healthcare in America by increasing both public awareness of natural medicine and access to naturopathic doctors for patients. INM believes that naturopathic medicine, with its unique principles and practices, has the potential to reverse the tide of chronic illness that overwhelms existing healthcare systems and to empower people to achieve and maintain their optimal lifelong health. INM strives to achieve this mission through the following initiatives:

  • Education – Reveal the unique benefits and outcomes of evidence-based natural medicine
  • Access – Connect patients to licensed naturopathic doctors
  • Research – Expand quality research of this complex and comprehensive system of medicine

About The Author(s)

Author

Institute for Natural Medicine Staff

Our dedicated content team of professional staff writers represents decades of experience covering essential natural health topics in an accessible, evidence-based, and engaging way. Guided by a shared passion for holistic well-being, each and every one of our writers strives to empower our readers to take charge of their health.

Supported by a rigorous fact-checking and medical editing process from licensed naturopathic doctors that examines the latest in peer-reviewed research, our team brings their in-depth knowledge of natural health practices into every piece of content we produce. We strive to be the gold standard for evidence-based natural medicine, providing trustworthy information and inspiring narratives to help you live your best health, naturally.

Explore Naturopathic Medicine Articles

Explore

Get Involved!