Naturopathic doctors (ND) are primary care physicians clinically trained in natural therapeutics and whose philosophy is derived in part from a Hippocratic teaching more than 2,000 years old: Vis medicatrix naturae – nature is the healer of all disease. Naturopathic medicine is based on the same basic biomedical science foundation that allopathic physicians practice; however, their philosophies and approaches differ considerably from their conventional counterparts. Naturopathic physicians diagnose disease and treat patients by using natural modalities such as physical manipulation, clinical nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, counseling, acupuncture, and hydrotherapy, among others. ND’s chose treatments based on the individual patient, not based on the generality of symptoms. This approach has proven successful in treating both chronic and acute conditions.
What is a Naturopathic Physician?
Naturopathic physicians are primary health care practitioners whose diverse healing techniques include modern and traditional, scientific and empirical methods. Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care – an art, science, philosophy and practice of diagnoses, treatment and prevention of illness. The principles of Naturopathic medicine are based upon objective observation of the nature of health and disease, and are continually re-examined in the light of scientific advances. Methods used are consistent with these principles and are chosen upon the basis of patient individuality.
How are ND’s Licensed?
A licensed naturopathic physician (ND), attends a four-year professional level naturopathic medical school and is educated in all the same basis sciences as an MD, in addition to holistic and nontoxic approaches to healing with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. In order to become a licensed primary care physician by a state of jurisdiction, a naturopathic physician must successfully complete the 4 year Naturopathic Medical School program and pass both science and clinical professional board examinations.
What is the Scope of Practice for ND’s?
Naturopathic physicians are the only primary care physicians clinically trained in a wide variety of natural medicines and therapies. Modalities of naturopathic treatment may include:
|Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
||Mind Body Medicine
|Botanical (Herbal) Medicine
|Lifestyle & Nutritional Counseling
||Physical Medicine and Manipulation
What Kind of Education is Required to Become a ND?
Naturopathic medical colleges are four-year professional level medical schools with admission requirements comparable to those of conventional medical schools. The degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine requires four years of professional level study in the medical sciences.
Why Can I Not Get My N.D. Degree Through Correspondence Courses?
The four-year professional level program requires hands-on experience within the different modalities and medical sciences. Because the course work in natural therapeutics is added to a standard medical curriculum, naturopathic physicians receive significantly more hours of classroom education than the graduates of many leading medical schools do. Would you trust your health to someone who received his or her degree through the mail?
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic Medicine integrates many different treatments,
uniting them within the principles upon which it was founded
Nutrition and the therapeutic use of foods as medicine is a cornerstone in naturopathic medicine. Scientific research continues to prove the effectiveness of using food as supplements as treatments for a proven to be variety of health conditions. Naturopathic physicians receive more than 140 classroom hours in nutrition compared to 20 hours taken by conventional medical doctors.
Many traditional cultures use plants as their primary medicine. Most pharmaceutical drugs are derived from plants. The active constituents have been proven to be therapeutically effective and the energetic quality of plants allows them to work on other levels besides just the physical.
This powerful system of medicine is over 200 years old and is widely used in Europe. Symptoms are seen as the body’s immune system at work and therefore communicate deeper problems. Instead of suppressing the symptoms with drugs , homeopathic medicines increase the symptom to assist the body’s immune system in eliminating the problem. After an initial period of worsened symptoms, the disease and symptom disappear. Reoccurrence of disease is rare since the body has learned naturally to rid itself of the disease.
Physical medicine includes physiotherapy using heat and cold, gentle electrical pulses, ultrasound, diathermy, hydrotherapy, exercise therapy, massage, and physical manipulation of the bones. Manipulation of the spine is crucial since it house the spinal cord that innervates the body. When the vertebrae are in alignment, pain is reduced and organs function more efficiently as they are receiving full nerve stimulation.
Naturopathic physicians are trained in the fundamentals of oriental medicine, diagnosis, and treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Oriental medicine is advantageous because it considers emotional aspects of one’s illness, and believes in strengthening a patient’s vital energy (Qi).
Environmental medicine focuses on the main health impacts of environmental toxins. Toxic burden on the body results in potential endocrine system, immune system or nervous systems dysfunctions. Removal of the toxic burden through detoxification processes aide in rebalancing the body.
Counseling and Stress Management
One’s attitude, mental state, and emotional state play important roles in one’s health and disease. Naturopathic physicians are trained in psychological techniques such as counseling, stress management, hypnotherapy, biofeedback and other mind/body methods.
Minor surgery includes repair of superficial wounds and removal of foreign bodies, cysts, and other superficial masses with local anesthesia as needed.