NMDs hold wide scopes of practices as primary care physicians in licensed states. This scope includes minor surgery, prescription drugs, counseling and referral services, vaccinations, laboratory testing and diagnosis, as well as botanical medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, physical medicine and vitamin therapy.
Naturopathic Medical Doctors are quite common in the western US, Canada, and some of the New England states. Washington, Oregon, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont are just some of the states that license NMDs. Most states, which license NMDs, offer insurance coverage to their patients. In some states such as Washington, insurance coverage for NMDs is mandatory by law.
Naturopathic Medical Doctors, like MDs and DOs graduate from fully accredited medical schools, acquire clinical experience as interns and do residencies. Naturopathic Medical Doctors take both science and clinical National Board Exams and hold a state health department license in a state that recognizes NMDs.
A naturopathic medical student, along with the intensive coursework of conventional medical school (the sciences, clinical skills, diagnosis, pharmacy), must also study extensive classes in botanical medicine, nutritional therapy, homeopathy and physical medicine.
While NMDs treat all disease, it is without question that we are best trained to make an impact on chronic disease such as arthritis, allergies, and skin problems. NMDs are excellent for patients who may be in conventional treatment using high intervention therapies but want help managing side effects of drugs or want to increase the speed of recovery from surgery. In fact, in some states, NMDs and MDs have a strong co-management and referral relationship due to the fact that MDs are highly trained to treat acute disease and NMDs for chronic. Cancer Treatment of America is an example of such a clinic.
In addition to learning less invasive treatments, a naturopathic medical student must study the philosophy of naturopathic medicine. A Naturopathic Medical Doctor follows the therapeutic order of least intervention to most intervention. We use all medicine but not without following the therapeutic order. This means we start with the basic determinants of health: ie. food, water, air, exercise, healthy relationships. Only when stronger medicine is required, do we move to higher interventions: ie. food herbs, vitamin and mineral supplementation, physical medicine, and homeopathy. In some cases, we then step up to the highest interventions when necessary: medicinal herbs, surgery and pharmaceutical drugs.
It is important to understand that Naturopathic Medical Doctors believe that all medicine has a place and it is up to the skill and experience of the physician to determine when a particular medicine should be administered, whether natural or synthetic, non-invasive or invasive.
Everything is Medicine.
The Columbus Clinic of Naturopathic Medicine
5115 Olentangy River RoadColumbus, Ohio 43235