Naturopathic Medicine


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Naturopathy blends centuries-old natural, non-toxic therapies with current advances in medicine, covering all aspects of health from prenatal to geriatric care. Naturopathic medicine

  • Concentrates on whole-person wellness - the treatment is tailored to the patient and emphasizes prevention and self-care.
  • Attempts to find the underlying cause of the patient's condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment.
  • Is defined primarily by its fundamental principles
    • First, Do No Harm
    • Work with the Healing Power of Nature
    • Treat the Cause
    • Treat the Whole Person
    • Doctor is Teacher, and
    • Practice Prevention

The individual needs of every patient are considered within the context of these principles. Methods of diagnosis and safe, effective treatment are selected from many sources, including health care systems from around the world. Naturopathic medicine, as art and science, continues to evolve with the development of human knowledge. Naturopathic medicine includes the following diagnostic and therapeutic modalities: all methods of clinical and laboratory diagnosis including body fluid and cellular analysis, x-ray, ultrasound and other imaging techniques; clinical nutrition, botanical, and homeopathic medicine; acupuncture Chinese medicine; naturopathic physical medicine including physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, manipulation, and therapeutic exercise; psychotherapy and counseling; minor surgery and natural childbirth.

How is naturopathic medicine different from conventional medicine?

The main difference is in philosophical approach. Naturopathic physicians treat patients by restoring overall health rather than suppressing a few key symptoms. Naturopathic physicians are more concerned about finding the underlying cause of a condition and applying treatments that work in alliance with the natural healing mechanisms of the body rather than against them. Naturopathic treatments result less frequently in adverse side effects, or in the chronic conditions that inevitably arise when the cause of disease is left untreated. Naturopathic physicians typically spend more time with patients, asking a more comprehensive approach to the doctor-patient relationship. Sharing information and answering questions is considered an essential aspect of naturopathic health care.

In what ways are naturopathic and conventional physicians alike?

The academic training in medical sciences of naturopathic and conventional physicians is similar. Both study modern physical, clinical and laboratory diagnosis. Both can diagnose a disease and predict its course. Naturopathic physicians may also perform minor surgery, and prescribe some drugs. Both naturopathic and conventional physicians refer patients to other health care practitioners when appropriate.

Are there conditions that conventional medicine cannot help but naturopathy can?

Yes. Naturopathy outshines conventional medicine in chronic conditions such as allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, recurrent ear infections, and in degenerative conditions including macular degeneration, degenerative joint disease, ulcers, Crohn's disease, and multiple sclerosis.

Naturopathy can also be very effective in treating acute viral infections such as the flu and the common cold.

What is the difference between naturopathy and homeopathy?

Naturopathy encompasses the entire spectrum of natural medicine, of which homeopathy is just one part. Refer to the section on homeopathy for more details.

Does naturopathic medicine work effectively?

Naturopathic medicine has its own unique body of knowledge, evolved and refined through experience for centuries. It also incorporates scientific advance from medical disciplines throughout the world. Many of the individual therapies used in naturopathic medical practice have been scientifically validated, especially in the areas of clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture and manipulation. The trend is that those naturopathic methods which are tested in well-designed studies are validated.

Is naturopathic medicine safe?

Yes. The safety record in states with regulatory boards is excellent. Naturopathic physicians can purchase malpractice insurance at extremely low rates. As indicated by such rates, the chance of being injured through malpractice is low. Naturopathic physicians are experts in the safe use of natural therapies.

Who can use naturopathic treatments safely?

Everyone! It is even safe for pregnant women, newborns, and all phases of life up to geriatric care. Terminally ill persons too can benefit safely from naturopathic medicine.

Is naturopathic medicine taught in conventional medical schools?

No. Conventional medical schools may offer introductory courses on the modalities of naturopathic medicine, such as clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, and homeopathy, and may provide an overview of naturopathy. But naturopathic medicine is not part of the core curriculum of any conventional medical school in North America.

How can naturopathic medicine be blended with conventional medicine?

Naturopathic medicine shares a foundation of diagnostic methods with conventional medicine. Although treatment approaches may differ, they are not mutually exclusive. Many patients are under the care of both a conventional physician and a naturopathic physician, utilizing the strengths and minimizing the limitations of each approach. In an ideal world, patients would always be able to access the best of both systems. Naturopathic medicine has effective treatment for many problems that conventional medicine fails to cure, such as asthma, arthritis, migraines headaches, diabetes, and hypertension. Recently, conventional medicine has incorporated some naturopathic wisdom in the areas of nutrition, diet, exercise therapy, and mind-body correlations.

Are naturopathic physicians opposed to drugs and major surgery?

No. Naturopathic physicians are not opposed to invasive or suppressive measures when these methods are necessary. They make referrals for such treatment when appropriate. Naturopathic medicine has both safer and less expensive alternatives to many kinds of non-emergency surgery.

Is naturopathic medicine covered by insurance?

Yes, many insurance carriers cover naturopathic medicine in the U.S. and Canada. State legislatures in Connecticut, Washington, Montana, and Alaska have mandated insurance reimbursement for medically necessary and appropriate naturopathic medical services. Insurance companies vary regarding their coverage. It is very important for people to check their individual insurance policies to verify exactly what their policy covers. Efforts are underway for naturopathic physicians to become providers for Medicare and Medicaid.

Is naturopathic medicine cost effective?

Yes. Because naturopathic physicians have alternatives to some expensive high-tech procedures, and because their preventative approach reduces the incidence of high-cost chronic conditions, naturopathic practice reduces both immediate and long-term health care costs.