The Naturopathic Physician
Naturopathic Physicians (NDs) are general practitioners trained as specialists in natural medicine. They are educated in the conventional medical sciences, but they are not orthodox medical doctors (MDs). Naturopathic Physicians treat disease and restore health using therapies form the sciences of clinical nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, exercise therapy, counseling, acupuncture and hydrotherapy. They tailor these approaches to the needs of an individual patient. Naturopathic medicine is effective in treating most health problems, whether acute or chronic. Naturopathic physicians cooperate with all other branches of medical science referring patients or other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.
Naturopathic Medical Education
The naturopathic physician has a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree form a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical college. Naturopathic medical colleges are four-year postgraduate schools with admissions requirements comparable to those of conventional medical schools.
Naturopathic physicians are the only primary care physicians clinically trained in a wide variety of natural therapeutics.
Some of the therapies used by naturopathic physicians are:
Many medical conditions can be treated as effectively with foods and nutritional supplements as they can by any other means, but with fewer complications and side effects
Homeopathic medicines act to strengthen the body’s innate immune response; they seldom have side effects.
Many plant substances are powerful medicines. They are effective and safe when used properly, in the right dose and in the proper combinations with other herbs or treatments.
Physical medicine includes but is not limited to physiotherapy using heat and cold, gentle electrical pulses, ultrasound, diathermy and hydrotherapy and exercise therapy.
Naturopathic physicians are trained in the fundamentals of oriental medicine and diagnosis, and many use acupuncture, acupressure and oriental botanical medicine in their practices.
Counseling and stress management
Mental attitudes and emotional states can be important elements in healing and disease. Naturopathic physicians are trained in various psychological techniques, including counseling, nutritional balancing, stress management, biofeedback and other methods.
The Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
The principles of naturopathic medicine unite profession. The following principles are the foundation that naturopathic medical practice is built upon.
1.The Healing Power of Nature
Nature acts powerfully through healing mechanisms in the body and mind to maintain and restore health. 2.First Do No Harm
Naturopathic physicians prefer non-invasive treatments, which minimize the risks of harmful side effects.
3.Identify and Treat the Cause
Every illness has an underlying cause, often in aspects of the lifestyle, diet or habits of the individual.
4.Doctor As Teacher
Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
5.Treat the Whole Person
Health and disease come from a complex interaction of physical, emotional, dietary, genetic, environmental, lifestyle, and other factors. Naturopathic physicians treat the whole person, taking these factors into account.
Naturopathic physician emphasize the prevention of disease –assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease and making appropriate interventions in partnership wit their patients to prevent illness.
Information is from American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP)
For finding AANP Naturopathic doctors visit AANP (www.naturopathic.org).