Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ideals of a True Physician

As physicians, we are constantly learning - it's one of the things I love most about being a naturopathic doctor! The practice of naturopathic medicine allows us to utilize the best of scientific medicine and diagnostics, while delivering health care according to fundamental principles and philosophies of care that help us guide our patients to true health and healing. We research and seek instruction and inspiration from other physicians who have established precedents of excellence in the practice of effective, ethical, principle-bound medicine - the kind of health care that empowers patients and changes lives with true healing. Renowned naturopathic physician and homeopath Dr. André Saine, ND, FCAH, is one of these great leaders. Through his practice and teaching work at the Canadian Academy of Homeopathy in Montréal and internationally, Dr. Saine has inspired generations of naturopathic and allopathic physicians to become better doctors and facilitators of healing. Recently, a colleague and fellow homeopathy-phile (thanks, Mel!) pointed out André's article, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well: keys for becoming a successful physician", which captured my attention this morning. Presented as a lecture to the graduating class at National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, 2009, the article explores the fundamental characteristics of a successful physician - knowing the self, human nature, and Nature, and embodying the philosophy and principles that should abide by each doctor in daily practice. This is captivating and inspirational reading!!! for doctors and patients alike, and leaves me to critically appraise how I can foster my own life and naturopathic practice to daily reflect these immutable ideals of care.

Here is a brief excerpt:

"What are the more important predispositions necessary for the practice of medicine? I would suggest the following qualities and dispositions and encourage their cultivation:

Sound health
Balanced personality
Being a good communicator
Sound judgment

"Benevolence is the disposition to be kind and good to others. In Buddhism, it is called maitri, which is one of the four elements of true love and is translated as loving-kindness.

"Benevolence is one of two basic ingredients for becoming a true physician, knowledge being the other. Benevolence or love is the inspiration and knowledge is the guide. With the love to help your fellow human beings you will be eager to learn and acquire the necessary knowledge to become a true physician. However, benevolence, without that knowledge or ability to do good, may actually make others suffer. To a 24 year-old enquiring medical student, Hahnemann wrote, 'I pray you to continue to be a right, genuine, good man, as it is impossible without virtue to be a true physician, a godlike helper of his fellow creatures in their distress.' It seemed that Hahnemann's prayer was greatly fulfilled, as the young student was Constantine Hering....

"...Assuming that you fulfill the necessary profile, the next requirement is to learn about human nature....

- Dr. André Saine, ND, FCAH, The Naturopathic Gathering, NCNM, 2009; available at:

View the complete article and others on The Canadian Academy of Homeopathy web site,

Happy learning!!


  1. Certainly good advice to practice and live by. We’ve just moved to Guelph over the summer and amidst the busyness of moving it’s good to be reminded of the principles of practice.

    Mark Kubert

  2. Welcome to Guelph, Mark! Thanks for your comment. Keep well!



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