Naturopathic Medicine is a system of medicine that is based on looking for and addressing the root cause of dis-ease in order to restore wellness. By living in alignment with what is needed to create health, we can have more vitality and live fuller lives.
What can a naturopath do?
Naturopathic doctors have different rights about how they can practice depending on the state. Here in the state of Washington we can practice as primary care physicians and treat patients from babies through elders. Some NDs are also licensed to attend out of hospital births. We can do most things that you are used to doing with a regular doctor including physical exams such as annual exams and gynecological exams, order lab work and imaging, prescribe medications, do injections and IV therapy, and do manual therapy such as spinal adjustments or soft tissue release.
The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae): 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 the Causes (Tolle Causam): 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 (Primum Non Nocere): Naturopathic physicians follow three guidelines to avoid harming the patient:
Utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat;
Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms; and
Acknowledge, respect, and work with individuals’ self-healing process.
Doctor as Teacher (Docere): Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
Treat the Whole Person: Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.
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.
Naturopathic Medical Training:
Naturopathic physicians must complete 4-5 years of doctoral level medical training including clinical rotations through accredited naturopathic medical schools. Training includes conventional biomedical sciences and pharmacology as well as herbal medicine, nutrition, physical medicine, counseling, hygiene, homeopathy and naturopathic philosophy. In order to obtain a license to practice naturopathic medicine, one must graduate from an accredited program and pass a national board exam.