“Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing process. The practice of naturopathic medicine includes modern and traditional, scientific, and empirical methods.” – American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
- Naturopathic Medical School and Licensure
- A Naturopathic Doctor (ND) helps people to restore their health by addressing the root cause of whatever ails them. While attending an accredited 4 year doctoral program, ND’s are trained in the basic sciences and pharmacology along with such treatments as herbalism, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, psychology, physical medicine, and nutrition. Graduates of one of the eight accredited programs must pass the Naturopathic Physician Licensing Examination (NPLEX) for state licensure in any of the 18 states (which includes Connecticut) that require registration of Naturopathic Doctors. Naturopathic physicians utilize all of these modalities to treat the whole person with the least invasive and most effective method possible.
- Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
- First Do No Harm:
- By using methods and medicines which minimize the risk of side effect, by acknowledging the body’s inherent self-healing properties and by avoiding suppression of symptoms, the naturopathic physician, like a medical doctor, firstly avoids doing any harm to their patient.
- The Healing Power of Nature:
- Naturopathic medicine utilizes the body’s inherent, intelligent self-healing process. Naturopathic Doctors identify and remove obstacles to health and stimulate a person’s vitality to facilitate the healing process.
- Identify and Treat the Causes:
- Naturopathic Doctors strive to identify and treat the root cause of a disease or illness instead of merely suppressing or eliminating symptoms.
- Doctor as Teacher:
- Education is key to naturopathic medicine. Health is in the hands of the individual. The doctor is just a guide on the journey of health.
- Treat the Whole Person:
- For centuries, people have come to understand that mental health and physical health go hand in hand. With this understood, a Naturopathic Doctor looks at the whole picture. Diagnosis and treatment are based on an individual’s own physical, mental and emotional health, as well as, environmental, social and genetic factors.
- Prevention is emphasized in naturopathic medicine. Instead of waiting for a disease to emerge, preventative measures can be used to head it off before emergence. Risk factors assessed include heredity, environment and diet.
- First Do No Harm:
What should I expect on my first visit?
- The first office seeing a naturopathic physician usually takes about an hour with follow up visits lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. ND’s take their time in assessing a patient, as we don’t only want to know why you’ve come to see us and your goals for the visit, but also your physical and mental history, your stress and energy levels, as well as your diet and exercise routine. Visits routinely include physical examinations and diagnosis similar to that of an MD visit. ND’s may also choose to order diagnostic tests to better understand any underlying causes. If necessary, your doctor may even refer you to other health care practitioners or specialist for further testing.
- Working with the patient, a naturopathic physician will customize a treatment plan which may include education on prevention, diet or overall health.