Naturopathic Medicine

The Principles.
When people ask me, this is what I say about naturopathic doctors:

We are trained in some ways like a Family Physician:

  • 4 Years pre-medical training
  • 4-5 years of naturopathic medical school which has the same level of medical science as standard medical school
  • Equivalent diagnostic training (performing physical exams, ordering and interpreting blood tests, x-rays, etc)
  • Prescribing pharmacological drugs
  • Doing minor surgery

There are several important differences between NDs and MD/DOs:

  • We are not trained in major surgery and do not do surgical rotations
  • We are trained in nutrition, 4 credits short of a nutrition degree
  • We are well trained in medical herbalism
  • We are trained in counseling/mediation and do counseling rotations.
  • We are trained in physical medicine and do physical medicine rotations, which includes naturopathic manipulation (adjustments like chiropractors or osteopaths) and rehabilitation (massage, heat and cold, ultrasound, etc like physical therapists)
  • We are trained in exercise physiology and prescription
  • We are trained in homeopathy
  • We are trained in functional medicine
  • We are trained in whole person medicine
  • We are the only providers trained in pharmacy, nutrition, and herbalism and the interactions between them!

Naturopathic education emphasizes the role of a doctor as teacher, educating people about health, disease, treatment options and prevention. Doctors of Naturopathic Medicine are guided by six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine, which emphasize a holistic and natural approach to patient care, evaluation, management, and care for medical conditions.


The Principles of Naturopathic Medicine


1.) Find and Treat the Cause:

Everyone is a mysterious and wonderful being. As such, discovering the basis of a person’s condition and their personal path to wellness requires a thorough and careful evaluation. While some ailments may be common, the actual cause of the condition, and the path to healing may be different for every individual. Naturopathic Medicine seeks to find and address the root cause of disease rather than simply to suppress the symptoms. Symptoms such as fever and inflammation, when within normal limits, are viewed as expressions of the body’s natural attempt to heal. Diseases can originate from physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual levels, and, when possible, NDs work to address these levels directly. Also, they work to change aspects of a patient’s life that increase their susceptibility to disease, such as lifestyle and nutritional factors.

2.) Treat the whole person, Holism:

Health and disease result from a combination of physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, lifestyle, social, spiritual and other factors. Naturopathic medicine recognizes that the harmonious functioning of all aspects of you are essential to health. The multifactorial nature of health and disease requires a personalized and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment. Naturopathic doctors treat the whole person that is you, taking all of these factors into account.

3.) Do no harm:

NDs use methods and medicinal substances that minimize the risk of harmful effects upon you, and apply the least possible force or intervention necessary to diagnose illness and restore your health. NDs respect and work with the healing power of nature in diagnosis, treatment and counseling. Therapeutic actions should be complementary to and synergistic with this healing process. Their training and experience with pharmacology, herbs, nutrients, and other therapies helps them understand and avoid unwanted.

4.) The healing power of nature:

Naturopathic Medicine respects the innate intelligence of the human body to heal. This Vital Force is likened or related to the will to live, and works to bring the organism into balance and equilibrium, moving toward a state of optimal health. The role of the naturopathic physician is to facilitate this natural process biochemically, physiologically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

5.) The physician is a teacher:

Docere, the Latin root for doctor means “to teach”. Beyond an accurate diagnosis and appropriate prescription, the doctor must work to create a healthy, sensitive interpersonal relationship with you. A cooperative doctor-patient relationship has inherent therapeutic value. The physician’s major role is to educate and encourage you to take responsibility for your own health. The physician is a catalyst for healthful change, empowering and motivating you to assume responsibility. The physician must strive to inspire hope as well as understanding.

6.) Wellness and Prevention are the best cure:

One of the ultimate goals of naturopathic medicine is prevention. This is accomplished through education, and promotion of lifestyle habits that create good health. The doctor assesses risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease and makes appropriate interventions to avoid further harm and risk to you. Because it is difficult to be healthy in an unhealthy world, NDs also encourage working to create a healthier environment in which to live.

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