When you see a you will be treated as a whole, unique person worthy of the best. With each of my patients, I strive to follow the following foundational philosophies that, to me, make perfect sense.
First, I consider The Determinants of Health for each patient, including:
• Inborn determinants include your genetics, congenital/maternal exposures, constitution and susceptibility
• Life Disturbances: Major events, medical interventions (or lack of), physical & emotional stress, toxic & harmful substances, traumas
• Hygenic/ Lifestyle factors (how we live): exposure to nature, clean water & food, exercise, community, meaningful work…

Then, I treat my patients starting with the most gentle, inexpensive treatments and going from there. Credit goes to my teachers, Dr. Pamela Snider and Dr. Jared Zeff, for teaching what is called, “The Therapeutic Order,” or the 7 rungs of the naturopathic therapy ladder:
1. Re-establish the basis for health- healthy lifestyle & diet, treating underlying causes
2. Stimulate the Vis medicatrix naturae – use the
3. Tonify weakened systems
– Strengthen the
– Decrease toxicity
– Modulate Inflammation
– Optimize Metabolism, Regeneration & Self-regulation
4. Correct structural integrity with bodywork, stretches and hydrotherapy
5. Prescribe natural substances or treatments- herbs, vitamins, hormones
6. Prescribe pharmacological substances- gentler prescription medications
7. Last resorts: surgery, suppressive drugs, radiation, chemotherapy.

In my next blog post, I’ll share a real patient case with you, so you can see how I actually apply these principles when I treat my patients.

Margaret Philhower, ND