Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are primary care physicians and part of a distinct system of health care who blend centuries-old knowledge, including a philosophy that nature is the most effective, with current research on human health. They have attended an accredited naturopathic medical school, are clinically trained, and work in all aspects of family health — from pediatric to geriatric care.
Naturopathic medical practice is rooted in the following six principles:
1. The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)
Naturopathic medicine recognizes the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. Naturopathic physicians identify and remove obstacles to recovery to support this healing ability.
2. Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam)
The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness, rather than suppress symptoms.
3. First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)
Naturopathic physicians utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects. They also acknowledge and respect the individual’s healing process, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat illness.
4. Doctor as Teacher (Docere)
Naturopathic physicians educate the patient and encourage self-responsibility for health.
5. Treat the Whole Person
Naturopathic physicians treat each individual by taking into account physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors. Total health includes spiritual health, and clients are encouraged to follow their spiritual paths and may incorporate it into treatment.
Naturopathic physicians emphasize disease prevention, assessment of risk factors and genetic susceptibility to disease and make appropriate interventions to prevent illness.
Naturopathic doctors attend rigorous, 4 year, accredited naturopathic medical colleges. The curriculum includes basic sciences, clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, counseling and physical medicine. Just like MDs, naturopathic physicians must participate in clinical training and pass rigorous professional board exams before they can be licensed by a state or jurisdiction. Currently, 26 jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands all have laws regulating naturopathic doctors.
What can you expect at a visit?
During a visit, a comprehensive history is obtained including biological, physiological and social information. Further examination and laboratory studies may be performed, if necessary. Interventions may include diet and lifestyle recommendations, homeopathic and botanical medicine may be utilized alone or incombination with behavioral medicine to establish lifelong, meaningful changes. Each plan is personalized and unique to the client.