Naturopathic medicine is based on the belief that the human body has an innate healing ability. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) teach their patients to use diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and cutting edge natural therapies to enhance their bodies’ ability to ward off and combat disease. NDs view the patient as a complex, interrelated system (a whole person), not as a clogged artery or a tumor. Naturopathic physicians craft comprehensive treatment plans that blend the best of modern medical science and traditional natural medical approaches to not only treat disease, but to also restore health.

Naturopathic physicians base their practice on six principles founded on medical tradition and scientific evidence.

  • Let nature heal. Our bodies have such a powerful, innate instinct for self-healing. By finding and removing the barriers to this self-healing—such as poor diet or unhealthy habits—naturopathic physicians can nurture this process.
  • Identify and treat causes. Naturopathic physicians understand that symptoms will only return unless the root illness is addressed. Rather than cover up symptoms, they seek to find and treat the cause of these symptoms.
  • First, do no harm.Naturopathic physicians follow three precepts to ensure their patients’ safety:
    • Use low-risk procedures and healing compounds—such as dietary supplements, herbal extracts and homeopathy—with few or no side effects.
    • When possible, do not suppress symptoms, which are the body’s efforts to self-heal. For example, the body may cook up a fever in reaction to a bacterial infection. Fever creates an inhospitable environment for the harmful bacteria, thereby destroying it. Of course, the naturopathic physician would not allow the fever to get dangerously high.
    • Customize each diagnosis and treatment plan to fit each patient. We all heal in different ways and the naturopathic physician respects our differences.
  • Educate patients. Naturopathic medicine believes that doctors must be educators, as well as physicians. That’s why naturopathic physicians teach their patients how to eat, exercise, relax and nurture themselves physically and emotionally. They also encourage self-responsibility and work closely with each patient.
  • Treat the whole person. We each have a unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, sexual and spiritual makeup. The naturopathic physician knows that all these factors affect our health. That’s why he or she includes them in a carefully tailored treatment strategy.
  • Prevent illness. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” has never been truer. Proactive medicine saves money, pain, misery and lives. That’s why naturopathic physicians evaluate risk factors, heredity and vulnerability to disease. By getting treatment for greater wellness, we’re less likely to need treatment for future illness.

How does Naturopathic Medicine compare to conventional medicine?

Both conventional Medical Doctors (MDs) and Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) provide primary health care and both are similarly trained as doctors. The main differences between naturopathic and conventional medicine are the philosophical approach and the therapies used. Naturopathic doctors treat patients as individuals by addressing the physical, environmental, lifestyle, attitudinal, and emotional aspects of health. This allows Naturopathic Doctors to find and treat the root cause of the disease using natural, non-invasive therapies and therefore restoring health for the long term. Conventional allopathic doctors generally address and treat the symptoms of disease and use pharmaceutical therapies or surgery.

Naturopathic Doctors treat all kinds of people, from infants and children to seniors, with a variety of health concerns, from colds and flu to chronic illness and cancer, and from the physical to the psychological.

Naturopathic medicine is beneficial for the following types of patients:

  • Patients that are looking for disease prevention and health promotion strategies.
  • Patients that have symptoms that they have been unable to address on their own or with the help of other medical practitioners.
  • Patients that have been diagnosed with an illness, whether it is serious or chronic, and are looking for alternative treatments.
  • Patients that are looking to combine conventional and naturopathic treatments in order to minimize the side effects of drugs, surgery, chemotherapy or other conventional treatments.

Naturopathic medicine is very effective for improving the quality of life for those with serious and life threatening illnesses.

Education, training and accreditation:

Naturopathic Doctors are required to complete an undergraduate University degree, which includes pre-medical studies, before entering into a four year full time medical program at an accredited school of naturopathic medicine. Training includes basic, medical, and clinical science; diagnostics; naturopathic principles and therapeutics; and extensive clinical internship experience under the supervision of licensed naturopathic doctors. Graduates receive the title N.D. or N.M.D, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. Following the completion of an accredited program, NDs must successfully complete standardized North American Board exams, known as the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX) in order to qualify for licensing. The NPLEX Part I – Biomedical Science Examination is an integrated, case-based examination that covers the topics of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry & genetics, microbiology & immunology, and pathology. This examination is designed to test whether the examinee has the scientific knowledge necessary for successful completion of clinical training. The NPLEX Part II – Core Clinical Science Examination is an integrated case-based examination that covers the following topics: diagnosis (using physical & clinical methods, and lab tests & imaging studies), Materia Medica (botanical medicine and homeopathy), nutrition, physical medicine, health psychology, emergency medicine, medical procedures, public health, pharmacology, and research. This examination is designed to test the skills and knowledge that an entry-level naturopathic physician must have in order to practice safely. Every jurisdiction that licenses naturopathic physicians requires that a candidate pass the NPLEX Part II – Core Clinical Science Examination. Examinations in Minor Surgery and Acupuncture may also be required for eligibility to become licensed to practice as a naturopathic physician in some jurisdictions. In California, Naturopathic Doctors are licensed by the Naturopathic Medicine Committee.

Therapies

Naturopathic Medicine offers primary health care to patients and combines the use of current medical diagnostic tools and laboratory testing with philosophies of individualized medicine and natural healing. Every patient has individual symptoms and medical history. This information is an important part of the detailed medical intake that we do to allow us to provide you with the best possible care. You will receive a thorough assessment and an individualized treatment plan according to your concerns and symptoms.

For More Information, visit:


The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP)
The California Naturopathic Doctors Association (CNDA)
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM)

 

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