About Naturopathic Medicine

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Naturopathic medicine is a system of primary healthcare that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. It emphasizes the use of natural modalities—such as nutrition, lifestyle counseling and botanical medicine—to promote wellness and treat illness. Naturopathic doctors  (NDs) work according to a set of basic principles—the Principles of Naturopathic Medicine —that include such things as stimulating the healing power of the body and addressing the underlying causes of disease, rather than focusing on alleviating symptoms. The practice of naturopathic medicine requires understanding illness within the context of a person’s whole life.

The 6 Principles of Naturopathic medicine

Naturopathic medicine is dedicated to the study and celebration of nature’s healing powers. It is as old as healing itself and as new as to today’s medical breakthroughs. It is a dynamic philosophy as well as a profession that recognizes the interconnection and interdependence of all living things. It utilizes the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies to treat illness and to promote wellness by viewing the body as an integrated whole.

Naturopathic medicine is defined by principles rather than by methods or modalities. Above all, it honors the body’s innate wisdom to heal.

Naturopathic physicians practice the six fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine:

  1. The Healing Power of Nature

Trust in the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself.

  1. Identify and Treat the Causes

Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause.

  1. Do No Harm

Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.

  1. Doctor as Teacher

Educate patients in the steps to achieve and maintaining health.

  1. Treat the Whole Person

View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions.

  1. Prevention

Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.

How Does It Work?

The goal of naturopathic medicine is to treat the whole person — that means mind, body, and spirit. It also aims to heal the root causes of illness — not just stop the symptoms.

bucket-container-decoration-1660533A naturopathic doctor may spend 1 to 2 hours examining you. He’ll ask questions about your health history, stress levels, and lifestyle habits. He may order lab tests.

Afterward, we’ll discuss your personal health plan. Naturopathic medicine focuses on education and prevention, so your doctor may give you diet, exercise, or stress management tips. He might use complementary medicine — like homeopathy, herbal medicine, and acupuncture — in addition to naturopathic treatments. He may also use touch, such as massage and pressure, to create balance in your body. This is called naturopathic manipulative therapy.

Who could benefit from naturopathic medicine?

According to Alternative to Meds Center, a transformative medication withdrawal and addiction treatment, using natural medicine can be a better way to overcome medication dependence.

Holistic therapy programs feature personalized, non-medical methods of addiction recovery. Holistic therapists treat physical and mental addiction symptoms as well as emotional and nutritional imbalances.

Lack of sleep, poor diet, and emotional stress are all potential obstacles holistic therapy might help a recovering addict treat. Holistic therapy plans are flexible, catering to the needs of each individual.

Some of the main objectives of holistic therapy include:

  • Identifying underlying causes of addiction
  • Strengthening resistance to cravings
  • Promoting physical fitness
  • Increasing self-confidence
  • Reducing the appeal of drug and alcohol use

However, naturopathic medicine is used for most health issues. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Allergies
  • Headaches
  • Fertility issues
  • Digestive problems
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

In some states, licensed naturopathic doctors can perform minor surgeries, like stitching up a small wound. They can prescribe certain medications. And they might even serve as your primary care doctor. Naturopathic doctors may receive additional training in natural childbirth.

You don’t have to be sick to try naturopathy. You may just want to boost your overall health or prevent an illness.

Don’t use it for an emergency or issue that requires a visit to the hospital, like major surgery. Nor should it be used in place of conventional medicine for serious conditions, like cancer and heart disease.

Who Practices It?

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You can find people who support naturopathic medicine in hospitals, clinics, community centers, and private offices. They fall into three groups, and they all have different educations and backgrounds:

  • Naturopathic physicians: These are also called naturopathic doctors (ND) or doctors of naturopathic medicine (NMD). They usually attend an accredited four-year, graduate-level school. They learn the same basic sciences as conventional medical doctors (MD). But they also study nutrition, psychology, and complementary therapies such as herbal medicine and homeopathy. Some states and territories require naturopathic doctors to become licensed. That means they have to pass an exam to practice and take continuing education classes.
  • Traditional naturopaths: These practitioners don’t attend an accredited naturopathic medical school or receive a license. Their education varies widely.
  • Healthcare providers: Some medical doctors, dentists, doctors of osteopathy, chiropractors, and nurses have training in naturopathic medicine. Many are either NDs or them studied naturopathy.

Before choosing a naturopathic practitioner, ask about his education or training and your state’s licensing requirements.

 What training do naturopaths have?

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Naturopathic practitioners are trained as general practitioners specializing in natural medicine. They cooperate with all other branches of medical science, referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.

Naturopathic practitioners have a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree from a four-year graduate medical college with admission requirements comparable to conventional medical schools. The ND degree requires graduate-level study in conventional medical sciences, such as cardiology, biochemistry, gynecology, immunology, pathology, pharmacology, pediatrics, and neurology.

In addition to the standard medical curriculum, naturopathic students must do extensive coursework in natural therapeutics. This includes therapies from the sciences of clinical nutrition, botanical medicines, homeopathy, physical medicine, exercise therapy, lifestyle counseling, and hydrotherapy, which is the use of water to treat a disorder or disease.

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