What is it, and what's our training?
Naturopathic medicine is a comprehensive approach to looking at health, wellness and disease from a holistic perspective. It aims to search out and treat the root cause of illness.
THE FOUNDATIONS OF NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE ARE:
The healing power of nature: Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in people that is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this inherent self-healing process.
Identify and treat root cause: The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
First do no harm: utilize methods which minimize harmful adverse effects and avoid suppression of symptoms
Doctor as teacher: Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health.
Treat the whole person: Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors.
Prevention: Naturopathic physicians emphasize the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and by making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness.
STANDARD CLINICAL TRAINING FOR A NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIAN
A naturopathic physician (ND) is a holistically-focused physician who has undergone at least four years of basic medical training including standard basic sciences and clinical rotations, often followed by one to two year residency program. All NDs are required to pass multiple rigorous national licensing exams (NPLEX I, II and practical exam) in order to be licensed and currently, there are only a few accredited institutions providing ND credentials including my own school, Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. For a comprehensive list of currently accredited instutitions, please go to https://cnme.org/accredited-programs/
In general, our training focuses on addressing the underlying causes of disease using the least forceful intervention necessary to treat our patients. Our clinical coursework includes training in Cardiology, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Radiology, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Immunology, Dermatology, and Pediatrics among other standard clinical disciplines. In our medical programs we are trained as primary care physicians to use a variety of tools including standard medical diagnostics and physical exams, diagnostic testing including standard and specialized lab work and imaging, manual therapy including spinal manipulation, diet and nutrition, herbal medicine and supplementation, and, when necessary, prescription medication and minor surgical procedures.