What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Founded upon a holistic philosophy, naturopathic medicine combines safe and effective traditional therapies with the most current advances in modern medicine. Naturopathic medicine is appropriate for the management of a broad range of health conditions affecting all people of all ages.
Naturopathic physicians (N.D.s) are the most thoroughly trained practitioners in natural medical modalities. In addition to conventional medical science and diagnostic training, naturopathic education includes therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, natural childbirth, classical Chinese medicine, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulative therapy, pharmacology and minor surgery.
Definition of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care - responsible for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illness. Naturopathic medicine is distinguished by the philosophical principles, which underlie and determine its practice. These principles are based upon scientific objective observations of health and disease, and are continually reexamined in the light of scientific advances. Methods used are consistent with these principles and are chosen upon the basis of patient individuality. Naturopathic physicians are primary health care practitioners, whose diverse techniques include modern and traditional, scientific and empirical methods.
Definition of a Naturopathic Physician
A Naturopathic Physician diagnoses, treats, and cares for patients, using a system of practice that bases itself on scientific understanding of the human body. The Naturopathic Physician utilizes physiological, psychological, and mechanical methods to treat disease and increase health. Dietary modification, phytotherapy, psychotherapy, minor and orificial surgery, naturopathic physical therapy and manipulation, and other natural methods or modalities are the tools used by a Naturopathic Physician. These tools exclude major surgery, therapeutic use of radiation, and use of many synthetic pharmaceuticals.
Primary Care Naturopathic physicians (NDs or NMDs) are general practitioners trained as specialists in natural medicine. In practice, naturopathic physicians perform physical examinations, laboratory testing, gynecological exams, nutritional and dietary assessments, metabolic analysis, and allergy testing. They may order x-ray, ultrasounds, other imaging procedures, and other diagnostic tests. They are the only primary care physicians clinically trained in the use in the following wide variety of natural therapeutics
Naturopathic physicians understand that what you eat is the basis for your health. Adopting a healthy diet is often the first step towards correcting health problems. Many medical conditions can be treated more effectively with foods and nutritional supplements than they can by other means and with fewer complications and side effects. Naturopathic physicians may use specific individual diets, fasting, and nutritional supplements with their patients.
Plants have powerful healing properties. Many pharmaceutical drugs have their origins in plant substances. Naturopathic physicians use plant substances for their healing effects and nutritional value.
This gentle yet effective system of medicine is more than 200 years old and is based on the principle that Like cures Like. Homeopathic medicines are very small doses of natural substances that can stimulate the body's self-healing response without side effects. Some conditions for which conventional medicine has no effective treatments will respond well to homeopathy.
Naturopathic medicine includes methods of therapeutic manipulation for muscles and bones. Naturopathic physicians also employ therapeutic exercise, massage, hydrotherapy, gentle electrical therapies, ultrasound, and heat and cold.
Naturopathic physicians are trained in the fundamentals of oriental medicine and diagnosis. They use acupuncture, acupressure, and Chinese herbal medicine to promote healing.
Lifestyle Counseling and Stress Management
Mental attitudes and emotional states can be important elements in healing and disease. Naturopathic physicians are trained in counseling, nutritional balancing, stress management, hypnotherapy, and biofeedback. They also attend to environmental and lifestyle factors that affect their patients' health.
Naturopathic physicians, with additional specialty training, provide natural childbirth care in an out-of-hospital setting. They offer prenatal and postnatal care using appropriate diagnostic techniques.
As primary care physicians, naturopathic physicians perform in-office minor surgery including repair of superficial wounds and removal of foreign bodies, warts and cysts with local anesthesia.