Naturopathic medicine is a system of medical care that focuses on restoring the body to its optimal state of health by supporting and strengthening the bodies natural healing abilities. Our bodies were designed to heal themselves. If our body is having difficulty healing we need to find out where it is weak, and more importantly, why that weakness persists. Finding the cause is the most important thing to consider when approaching any health problem. For this reason the concept of “Treat The Cause” is one of the tenets of Naturopathic medicine.
Naturopathic physicians are licensed by 20 states/jurisdictions as primary care physicians. To be licensed, they must go to a four-year medical school similar to allopathic medical school and receive a doctorate of naturopathic medicine N.D. They take basic science boards after year two and clinical boards at the completion of the four year program. ND’s get the same basic science training as an MD; however, they diverge from the traditional medical education in two main areas.
1. Because getting to the cause of illness is central in Naturopathic philosophy, ND’s get approximately 125 additional hours in physiology than the average MD training.
2. Where as they do get training in pharmaceuticals, and can prescribe certain drugs in the licensed states, their main medical management is based on natural substances. Those substances and therapies that were used before pharmaceuticals came along. This includes botanical medicine, nutrition, supplements, exercise, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, physical manipulation, Chinese medicine, and counseling, to name a few.
As primary care physicians ND’s diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases using all standard tests such as lab work and x-rays as part of the diagnostic process. However, one of the best ways for any physician to diagnose is to spend enough time with the patient to get a full picture of the problem. This is where naturopathic medicine is especially successful. The best way to obtain the “complete knowledge” about any problem the patient is having is to understand the complete patient, using a holistic approach. Only after taking into account a complete review of all systems in the body from head to toe, as well as symptoms, diet, rest, exercise, occupation, family history, medications, vitamins and supplements, and the specific needs and stresses of each patient, can a naturopathic physician come to a diagnosis that will give direction in treating the cause of a patient’s illness.
When treating the cause of symptoms, naturopathic physicians take into account the fact that the patient is already in less then optimal health. The body is designed to maintain homeostasis. Our bodies are good at compensating for imbalances. A symptom only occurs after the body can no longer compensate for these imbalances. To treat the symptom without treating the cause allows the cause to continue to deteriorate ones health. Symptoms are the body’s way of alerting you to the fact that something is wrong, and most likely has been for some time.
One of the most important things that naturopathic physicians can do is to involve the patient fully in the healing process. “Doctor as Teacher” is another important part of naturopathic philosophy. We all need to be proactive in our own health. For this to take place, time must be taken to teach the patient about the illness, and what can be done to not only overcome the present illness, but to decrease the chances of a recurrence. With this information the patient will understand how dietary changes, herbal remedies, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, homeopathy, exercise, and rest can become part of a normal lifestyle that allows optimal health and energy.
Your Naturopathic Physician can work with you to optimize your health, and teach you how to maintain quality of life using a holistic approach. Naturopathic medicine doesn’t just add years to your life, it allows you to enjoy your golden years with vigor, good health, and youthfulness?
- First Do No Harm
- Use The Healing Power Of Nature
- Treat The Whole Person
- Identify And Treat The Cause
- Doctor As Teacher
- Prevention Is The Best Cure
What is a Licensed Naturopathic Physician?
- 4-year postgraduate medical degree
Board Certified, Licensed, Primary Care Physician
- Cancer Care
- Botanical Medicine
- Clinical Nutrition
- Physical Medicine
- Mind/Body Medicine