Naturopathic Medicine combines safe and effective natural therapies with the most current advances in modern medicine. Naturopathic physicians embrace principles of holistic health encompassing the whole person (body, mind and spirit) with an emphasis on disease prevention and self-care. Naturopathic medicine is appropriate for the management of a broad range of health conditions affecting people of all ages.
(adapted from American Association of Naturopathic Physicians)
Naturopathic physicians (NDs) are primary care and specialty doctors who address the underlying cause of disease through effective, individualized natural therapies that integrate the healing powers of body, mind and spirit. Naturopathic physicians are unique in providing diagnosis and treatment that bridge both conventional and natural medicine perspectives, bringing together scientific research with the healing powers of nature.
The goal of a naturopathic physician is to employ therapies that support and promote the body's own healing process, leading to the most complete state of wellness.
In addition to basic medical sciences and conventional diagnostics, naturopathic education includes therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, natural childbirth, classical Chinese medicine, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulative therapy, pharmacology and minor surgery.
When appropriate, naturopathic physicians make patient referrals, working collaboratively with other health care providers such as MDs, DOs, psychotherapists, acupuncturists and chiropractors. Most naturopathic practices have extensive cross-referrals with other practitioners.
Clinical Nutrition The vital relationship between diet and health is well established. Naturopathic physicians are highly trained to provide dietary counseling optimized for each individual patient's needs. Many conditions improve with dietary changes alone; others respond well to nutritional supplementation.
Botanical Medicine Botanical treatments have been the basis of traditional medicine since antiquity. Most of today's drugs were originally derived from medicinal plants and recent scientific studies have proven many of these natural remedies. When carefully administered, botanical medicines can be safe, effective and economical alternatives to synthetic pharmaceuticals, with both low toxicity and fewer side effects.
Holistic Health Counseling Conventional medicine often neglects the relationship between health and a patient's lifestyle and environment. Naturopaths are specially trained to learn about the whole person and to recommend changes in a patient's physical, emotional, nutritional and environmental situation.
Hydrotherapy Naturopathic hydrotherapy uses water to make alternating hot and cold applications to areas of the body, causing changes in blood and lymph circulation. This heals at the cellular, tissue, organ and systemic levels of the body.
Homeopathy Homeopathy uses microscopic quantities of substances, usually derived from natural sources, that when given in larger doses cause symptoms similar to a specific condition. This can stimulate the body's healing response to the particular illness. Homeopathic medicines are safe for pregnant women, children and infants, usually with no adverse side-effects.
(This should not be confused with immunization, which activates the immune system by administering larger doses of modified disease-causing substances.)
Principles Of Naturopathic Medicine
(adapted from Bastyr University)
Respect The Healing Power Of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae) Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent ability in the body which is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to recovery and to facilitate and augment this healing ability.
Identify And Treat The Causes (Tolle Causam) The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness, rather than to eliminate or merely suppress symptoms.
First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere) Naturopathic medicine follows three principles to avoid harming the patient:
The Physician Is Teacher (Docere) Naturopathic physicians educate the patient and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also acknowledge the therapeutic value inherent in the doctor-patient relationship.
Treat The Whole Person Naturopathic physicians treat each individual by taking into account physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual path.
Prevention Is The Best Cure Naturopathic physicians emphasize disease prevention, assessment of risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease and making appropriate interventions to prevent illness. Naturopathic medicine strives to create a healthy world in which humanity may thrive.
Establish Health & Wellness Wellness follows the establishment and maintenance of optimum health and balance. Wellness is a state of being healthy, characterized by positive emotion, thought and action. Wellness is inherent in everyone, no matter what disease is being experienced. When wellness is truly recognized and experienced, an individual will heal more quickly from a given disease than from direct treatment of the disease alone. (This principle was adopted by Bastyr University and added to the six principles.)
(adapted from American Association of Naturopathic Physicians)
A licensed naturopathic physician (ND) attends a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school and is educated in all of the same basic sciences as an MD but also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician is required to complete four years of training in clinical nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology and lifestyle counseling. A naturopathic physician takes rigorous professional board exams to be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care physician.
Licensure of Naturopathic Physicians
In Connecticut naturopathic physicians are licensed by the State Department of Public Health. As of January 2003, license requirements include:
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