Founded upon a holistic philosophy, a naturopathic doctor combines safe and effective traditional therapies with the most current advances in modern medicine. The use of naturopathic medicine in consultation with properly trained naturopathic doctors is appropriate for the management of a broad range of health conditions affecting people of all ages. Often people use the terms holistic practitioners, holistic doctors and naturopathic doctors interchangeably. This approach is not correct. What separates a naturopathic doctor (also known as a naturopath) from other holistic practitioners and holistic doctors is the education of the naturopath and the underlying philosophy which governs how the naturopath practices.
A naturopathic doctor (ND) undergoes extensive education with a minimum of seven years of post secondary education including graduating from a four year professional-level program at one of the six federally accredited naturopathic medical schools. A naturopathic doctor is educated in all of the same basic and clinical sciences as a medical doctor and also studies holistic nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic doctor is required to complete additional training in clinical nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, pharmacology, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and counseling. A naturopathic doctor takes rigorous national board exams which cover basic sciences, diagnostic and therapeutic subjects, and clinical sciences so that he or she may be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care general practice physician in states that license a naturopathic doctor. Currently, 15 states, five Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia, and the US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands all have laws regulating a naturopathic doctor. In the State of New Jersey, a naturopathic doctor is not licensed to practice medicine as of yet and practices solely as a health consultant.
The strength and uniqueness of a naturopath is founded on six principles:
1) First Do No Harm (Primum Nocere) – a naturopathic doctor utilizes the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies first.
2) Identify and Treat the Cause (Tolle Causum) – naturopathic medicine effectively addresses the underlying causes of illness rather than simply suppressing symptoms.
3) The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)– a naturopath recognizes that each individual possesses an inherent self-healing ability. A naturopath strives to support, facilitate, and promote this healing process by removing the obstacles to health.
4) Treat the Whole Person- a naturopathic doctor acknowledges each individual as an integrated whole of spiritual, emotional, physical, mental, and environmental influences and elements.
5) Doctor as Teacher– a naturopath openly shares knowledge with their patients and encourage active participation in achieving optimal health goals.
6) Prevention – a naturopath is committed to identifying disease risk factors and offers patients appropriate interventions to prevent illness.
A naturopathic doctor (or naturopath) focuses on supporting the body’s innate ability to heal itself through diet, detoxification, the use of supplements, herbal medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, tissue salts, and health and lifestyle management. Holistic practitioners or holistic doctors who are also a naturopathic doctor have the ability to utilize a wide range of modalities that are available to a naturopath (whereas other holistic doctors or holistic practitioners who are not trained as a naturopathic doctor might only be well versed in fewer or no modalities). A brief description of each modality utilized by a naturopath is listed below:
Clinical Nutrition and the therapeutic use of food is a cornerstone of naturopathic medicine. Many medical conditions can be treated as effectively with foods and nutritional supplements as with other means, with fewer complications and side effects.
Detoxification - Every day we are exposed to toxins in air, water, food and our environment, from new carpets and fresh paint, to old upholstery and second hand smoke. For most people, small doses cause cumulative damage rather than immediate symptoms. Continued exposure and/or decreased liver function can compromise natural detoxification systems, causing the body to store toxins rather than eliminate them. Accumulation of toxins in the body can lead to general malaise or specific health problems, including fatigue, decreased mental acuity, skin and digestive conditions, food and chemical sensitivities, joint and muscle pain. Clearing toxins from the body can relieve symptoms and renew wellness and vitality. The liver is the primary organ responsible for changing toxic chemicals into compounds that the body can excrete through the four routes of elimination. These include the bowels, urine, sweat and breath. Detoxification can be done as part of a treatment plan for certain health problems when symptoms arise, or for disease prevention. Seasonal or annual detoxification can help maintain wellness and give the body a break from routine exposure to everyday toxins.
Nutraceutical Supplementation often becomes a necessity due to poor dietary habits, pollution, and in general, our chemically and artificially processed world. By ignoring vitamin and mineral requirements, people put themselves at nutritional risk with danger of developing disease and delay achieving wellness and promoting longevity.
Botanical Medicine helps an individual achieve effective results utilizing ancient treasures of Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Western herbal medicine, without the same harmful side-effects as pharmaceutical drugs. They are available in all forms including tinctures, teas, and powders. Different herbs have different effects on different people. Interactions, combinations, dosages, and contraindications need to be considered when choosing herbs.
Homeopathy is based on the principle “Similia Similibus Curanter” which means “Like Cures Like” – The law of similars states that the symptoms that a substance causes in a healthy individual are the symptoms that the same substance in a small dose can cure in a person’s diseased state. The basis for homeopathy is everyone has a unique force (”vital force”) which holds them together and maintains balance between the body and the mind. A disturbance in the vital force results in disease. When there is such a disturbance, mental, physical, and/or emotional symptoms are experienced and these symptoms are what lead to the selection of the correct remedy which themselves neither cover up nor destroy disease, but stimulate the body’s own healing action to rid itself of the problem.
Hydrotherapy is the application of water (”hydro”) for the treatment of disease (”therapy”). The simplicity of water’s healing abilities lies within its thermodynamic properties (i.e. temperature variants; cold, cool, neutral, warm, hot) and physical properties (i.e. ice, liquid, steam). Healing is facilitated by the stimulation of circulation (blood and lymph movement), metabolism, and ultimately the immune system. Methods of use include ice therapy, heat therapy, alternating hot and cold, saunas, steam inhalation, salt baths, poultices, etc.
Tissue Salts – The theory states that a deficiency within the body of these important minerals will result in an abnormal or diseased condition to occur. The proper dosing of the salts will replenish the body’s supply and restore tissue and organ function. Interestingly, the components of these salts are widely distributed and found throughout nature.
Health and Lifestyle Counseling - Our lifestyles, habits, routines, and mental hygiene have an enormous influence on our health. The way we take care of our bodies (i.e. exercise) and our minds (i.e. supportive vs. non-supportive thoughts) are always taken into consideration and play an integral part on the treatments chosen and their potential effectiveness.
Dr. Sussman is a talented naturopathic doctor who practices with an individualized treatment approach. That means that it is not the condition that is treated, it is the person and no two people can be treated in the exact same way. That said, below is a list of conditions commonly helped by naturopathic doctors. This list is not meant to be comprehensive. Please contact Dr. Sussman at The Rocking Chair at 201.308.5325 extension 234, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how utilizing the approach of a naturopath can benefit you.
- Acute Illness - Cold & Flus
- Adrenal Function
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Benign Prostate Hyperplasia
- Bio-identical Hormone Replacement
- Cancer Protection
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Chemical Sensitivity
- Chronic Fatigue
- Chronic Infections
- Diabetes (type 1 & 2)
- Digestive/GI Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Fibrocystic Breast Disease
- Food Sensitivity
- Headaches & Migraines
- Heavy Metal Toxicity
- High Cholesterol/ Heart Disease Risk
- Hormone Imbalance
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Immune Dysfunction
- Inflammatory Conditions
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Disease
- Kidney/Bladder Infections
- Liver Disease
- Menopause Hormone Imbalance
- Nutrition Deficiencies
- Sexual Issues
- Sinus Infections
- Skin Problems (acne, eczema, psoriasis, etc.)
- Sleep Disorders
- Smoking Cessation
- Thyroid Function
- Weight Management
- Ear Infections
- Food Sensitivity
For further information, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Sussman at The Rocking Chair at 201.308.5325 extension 234, or via email at email@example.com. We look forward to meeting with you.