Naturopathic Doc

A Guide To Naturopathic Medicine
What it is... What it can do for you!

| The Naturopathic Physician | Another Kind of Doctor |

| The Principles of Naturopathic Medicine | History |

| Naturopathic Medical Education | The Profession |

| Twenty Questions About Naturopathic Medicine |


The Naturopathic Physician

Naturopathic physicians (N.D.'s) are general practitioners trained as specialists in natural medicine. They are educated in the conventional medical sciences, but they are not orthodox medical doctors (M.D.'s). Naturopathic physicians treat disease and restore health using therapies from the sciences of clinical nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, exercise therapy, counseling, acupuncture, natural childbirth and hydrotherapy. They tailor these approaches to the needs of an individual patient. Naturopathic medicine is effective in treating most health problems, whether acute or chronic. Naturopathic physicians cooperate with all other branches of medical science, referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.

In practice, naturopathic physicians perform physical examinations, laboratory testing, gynecological exams, nutritional and dietary assessments, metabolic analysis, allergy testing, X-ray examinations, and other diagnostic tests. They are the only primary care physicians clinically trained in the use of a wide variety of natural therapeutics. They combine and tailor these treatments to the needs of the individual based on a cogent philosophy that acknowledges the patient as a participant.

The naturopathic physician has a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D.) degree from a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical college. In states where they are regulated, naturopathic physicians must pass either a national or a state level board examination, and their actions are subject to review by a State Board of Examiners.

| Return to top |


Another Kind of Doctor

Naturopathic physicians are the only primary care physicians clinically trained in a wide variety of medical systems.

Some of the natural therapies practiced by naturopathic physicians are:

Clinical Nutrition. Nutrition and the therapeutic use of foods have always been a cornerstone of naturopathic medicine. A growing body of scientific knowledge in this area is reflected in numerous professional journals of nutrition and dietary sciences, validating the naturopathic approach to diet and nutrition. Many medical conditions can be treated as effectively with foods and nutritional supplements as they can by any other means, but with fewer complications and side effects. Naturopathic physicians receive more than 140 classroom hours in clinical nutrition; most medical doctors receive fewer than 20 hours.

Homeopathic Medicine. This powerful system of medicine is more than 200 years old, and is widely accepted in other countries (The Royal Family of England uses a homeopathic physician.). Homeopathic medicines act to strengthen the body's innate immune response; they seldom have side effects. Some conditions that conventional medicine has no effective treatment for respond well to homeopathy.

Botanical Medicine. Many plant substances are powerful medicines, with advantages over conventional drugs. They are effective and safe when used properly, in the right dose and in the proper combinations with other herbs or treatments. A resurgence of scientific research in Europe and Asia is demonstrating that some plant substances are superior to synthetic drugs in clinical situations. Naturopathic doctors are trained in both the art and the science of botanical medicine.

Physical Medicine. In the last 100 years, various methods of applying treatments through the manipulation of the muscles, bones and spine have been developed in the U.S. Naturopathic Medicine has its own techniques, collectively known as naturopathic manipulative therapy. Physical medicine also includes but is not limited to physiotherapy using heat and cold, gentle electrical pulses, ultrasound, diathermy and hydrotherapy and exercise therapy.

Counseling and Stress Management. Mental attitudes and emotional states can be important elements in healing and disease. Naturopathic physicians are trained in various psychological techniques, including counseling, nutritional balancing, stress management, hypnotherapy, biofeedback and other methods.

| Return to top |


The Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

The principles of naturopathic medicine unite the profession. The following principles are the foundation that naturopathic medical practice is built upon.

The Healing Power of Nature. Vis Medicatrix Naturae
Nature acts powerfully through healing mechanisms in the body and mind to maintain and restore health. Naturopathic physicians work to restore and support these inherent healing systems when they have broken down, by using methods, medicines and techniques that are in harmony with natural processes.

First Do No Harm. Primum non nocere
Naturopathic physicians prefer non-invasive treatments which minimize the risks of harmful side-effects. They are trained to know which patients they can treat safely, and which ones they need to refer to other health care practitioners.

Find the Cause. Tolle Causam
Every illness has an underlying cause, often in aspects of the lifestyle, diet or habits of the individual. A Naturopathic Physician is trained to find and remove the underlying cause of a disease.

Treat the Whole Person.
Health or disease come from a complex interaction of physical, emotional, dietary, genetic, environmental, lifestyle, and other factors. Naturopathic physicians treat the whole person, taking these factors into account.

Preventive Medicine.
The naturopathic approach to health care can prevent minor illnesses from developing into more serious or chronic degenerative diseases. Patients are taught the principles with which to live a healthy life; by following these principles they can prevent major illnesses.

| Return to top |



As a distinct American health care profession naturopathic medicine is almost 100 years old. Its roots go back through medical history to the healing wisdom of many cultures and times. At the turn of the century, practitioners of a variety of medical disciplines combined natural therapeutics in a way they hadn't been combined before, and joined together to form the first naturopathic professional medical societies. Naturopathic medical conventions in the 1920's attracted more than 10,000 practitioners. Earlier in the century there were more than 20 naturopathic medical colleges, and naturopathic physicians were licensed in a majority of the states.

Naturopathic Medicine experienced a decline in the 1940's and 5O's with the rise and popularity of pharmaceutical drugs, technological medicine, and the idea that drugs could eliminate all disease. It has experienced a resurgence in the last two decades, as a health conscious public began to seek out alternatives to conventional medicine. As a body of knowledge, naturopathic medicine continues to grow and evolve. It incorporates those elements of scientific modern medicine that forward the knowledge of the mechanisms of natural healing and therapeutics, especially in the fields of diagnosis, immunology, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine and other clinical sciences. As an organized profession, naturopathic medicine is committed to on-going research and development of its science.

| Return to top |


Naturopathic Medical Education

Naturopathic medical colleges are four-year postgraduate schools with admissions requirements comparable to those of conventional medical schools. The degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine requires four years of graduate level study in the medical sciences including: anatomy - cardiology - physiology - neurology - biochemistry - radiology - pathology - minor surgery microbiology - obstetrics - immunology - gynecology pharmacology - pediatrics - dermatology - lab diagnosis - clinical and physical diagnosis - and other clinical sciences.

Throughout the four years, there is training in naturopathic therapeutics, including therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, natural childbirth, acupuncture, hydrotherapy naturopathic manipulative therapy, and other therapies. Because the course work in natural therapeutics is added to a standard medical curriculum, naturopathic doctors receive significantly more hours of classroom education than the graduates of many leading medical schools, including Yale, Stanford, Johns Hopkins and Mayo medical schools. There are presently two accredited colleges of Naturopathic Medicine in the United States.

Bastyr University
144 NE 54th St.
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 523-9585
National College
11231 SE Market St .
Portland, OR 97216
(503) 255-4860

The accrediting agency for naturopathic medical programs is the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). It is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and students at accredited and candidate status naturopathic medical schools are qualified to participate in federal student loan programs.

Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine Health Sciences 6535 East Osborn Road, Suite 703 Scottsdale, AZ 85251 (602) 990-7424

Southwest College has achieved Candidate for Accreditation status. This step does not assure eventual accreditation by the CNME.

| Return to top |


The Profession

The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) is the unifying professional association for naturopathic medicine. Its governing body includes delegates from state level Naturopathic Associations. The goals of the AANP are to promote the public health, to maintain high standards of education and medical practice, and to encourage scientific research.

The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians supports legislation to license and regulate naturopathic physicians in all states, in order to distinguish properly trained physicians from lesser trained individuals who may present a danger to public health.

The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education is the national accrediting body for naturopathic medical colleges.

National board examinations are administered by the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination

To locate a naturopathic physician in the United States, please send $5.00 for the AANP national referral directory to:

American Assoc. of Naturopathic Physicians

2366 Eastlake Avenue East, Ste 322
Seattle, WA 98102
Referral Line (206) 323-7610
Office (206) 328-8510
Fax (206) 323-7612



Doc Button

A Guide To

Doc Button


Doc Button

Dr. Gary's

Doc Button


Copyright ©1996 Dr. Gary Bachman, Naturopathic Physician All rights reserved.
Address product inquiries to: drgary@naturopathicdoc.com
Maintained by McGuire Web Marketing
Address comments and suggestions to: gray@mcguire.com