Naturopathic medicine is quickly becoming a growing profession due to a general public interest in complementary medicine and philosophy. There are currently four medical colleges in the nation the offer four or five year post-graduate training. Studies include two years focused on the basic sciences such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and pharmacology. The last years of education include clinical studies in subjects such as immunology, cardiology, dermatology, neurology, rheumatology, gastroenterology, gynecology psychology, and clinical diagnosis. Along with a strong foundation in clinical sciences, studies include a focus on nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, stress management, and naturopathic philosophy. In order for a physician to obtain licensure, they must first obtain their degree at one of these accredited school, and must pass Naturopathic Licensing examinations in both basic sciences and clinical studies.
Naturopathic medicine is a unique approach to health care that involves the integration of centuries old natural therapies, modern medical medicine, and current advances in medicine. Naturopaths typically practice according to the principles they are taught. These principles include:
First Do No Harm
Naturopathic physicians are taught respect for the living organism and its innate wisdom. Therefore, treatments that suppress the body’s own ability to heal itself may be avoided. Non-invasive treatments that minimize the risks of harmful side effects are often prescribed. This may also sometimes involve a “watch and wait” form of treating patients. In some patient cases, more invasive forms of treatments may be needed when other possibilities have been ruled out.
The Healing Power of Nature
Naturopathic medicine recognizes the healing process to be ordered and intelligent. Along with working with the body’s own natural healing abilities, the physician works to identify and remove obstacles to health. They may use gentle methods derived from natural sources to do so.
Identify and Treat The Cause
Symptoms can be a sign of the body’s attempt to defend itself, to adapt, to heal, or may be results of disease. Naturopathic physicians attempt to treat the underlying cause of the disease by exploring the origination of symptoms instead of only suppressing the symptoms. This involves exploring physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual causes of disease.
Treat The Whole Person
Naturopathic medicine recognizes the functions of all aspects of the human individual as being important to health. This involves taking all factors into account when deciding on treatment. The factors include the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of disease.
Doctor as Teacher
Naturopathic medicine emphasizes the importance of the doctor’s role in educating patients. It requires a cooperative approach between the doctor and patient. The physician also works at empowering and motivating patients to take responsibility for their own healing process. The doctor, in this sense, is not ultimately the healer, but is the catalyst in the healing process.
Staying healthy requires healthy habits and lifestyle that lead to improvement of health and prevention of future disease. Practitioners will assess each patient’s own individual risk factors and encourage behaviors that will promote future health by preventing serious or chronic degenerative diseases.