Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct and defined system of Primary Care Medicine, which honors the innate healing capabilities within each person. It is not merely the accumulation of various natural products and therapies used to resolve disease. Naturopathic Medicine is strongly based on the philosophy of discovering the underlying causes of illness within the individual versus focusing on the suppression of specific symptoms. It is a person-centered system versus a disease-centered system and each patient is seen as an individual versus an illness or condition. Naturopathic Medicine focuses on the study of health, versus the study of disease, and each patient is an active participant in their health restoration. The goal of Naturopathic Medicine is to discover and resolve the underlying causes of illness within the individual through the use of natural therapeutics in order to restore a state of optimal health.* Naturopathic therapeutics include:
Naturopathic Medical Education & Licensure
As with all doctors today, Naturopathic Doctors are trained at accredited, four to five-year, post-graduate medical institutions. The education is very similar to medical doctors and is divided evenly between academic and clinical training. The first two years of training consist of a comprehensive study of the conventional medical sciences, including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, microbiology, immunology, clinical and physical diagnosis, and laboratory diagnosis. Each student then sits for Basic Sciences Board Exams, which are overseen by The National Academic Board of Naturopathic Examiners. The second two to three years of training focuses on the conventional and naturopathic perspectives and approaches to the clinical aspects of cardiology, gastroenterology, gynecology, dermatology, endocrinology, pharmacology, etc. Also, during this time, students complete extensive outpatient rotations in naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, clinical nutrition, counseling, and physical medicine. All of the training is conducted under the supervision of experienced, licensed Naturopathic Doctors and Medical Doctors and involves complete patient evaluations, laboratory testing, monitoring, and a plan of action. After graduation, students are then required to pass Clinical Sciences Board Exams in order to become eligible for state licensure. To learn more about education and the naturopathic medicine program at Bastyr University, please visit www.bastyr.edu. To learn more about naturopathic medicine in general, from training to licensure, please visit our national organization at www.naturopathic.org.
Naturopathic Doctors (N.D.’s) are licensed as Primary Care Doctors in the State of California, as well as many other states, and are experts in the field of Natural & Alternative Medicine. Each Naturopathic Doctor must complete a postgraduate medical education from an accredited naturopathic institution. Naturopathic Doctors are distinct from acupuncturists, chiropractors, osteopaths, and medical doctors. They are uniquely trained to provide a comprehensive and integrated approach to assist the body’s innate healing processes. These approaches are tailored to the individual in order to resolve the underlying causes of illness, thereby optimizing health. Naturopathic medicine is an excellent option for approaching most health problems, whether acute or chronic. Naturopathic Doctors cooperate with all other branches within the medical field, referring patients to other practitioners when appropriate. The naturopathic medical approach allows for the best continuity of care for the patient.
Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
- First Do No Harm. Naturopathic Doctors prefer non-invasive solutions, which minimize the risks of harmful side effects. They are trained to know which patients they can work with safely and which ones they need to refer to other healthcare providers.
- Find the Cause. Every illness has an underlying cause which can often be found in certain aspects of the individual’s lifestyle, environment or diet. Naturopathic Doctors are trained to find and resolve the underlying causes of disease within each individual.*
- The Healing Power of Nature. This principle is based on the belief that the body has the innate ability to heal itself if given the correct circumstances. Natural forces act powerfully through the healing mechanisms already present in the mind and body of the individual. These forces maintain and restore health naturally. This is called the homeostatic principle of physiology. When these mechanisms become overwhelmed, they can breakdown. Naturopathic Doctors work to restore and support these natural and inherent healing systems. They do so by utilizing methods, remedies and techniques that are in harmony with these natural processes.
- Heal the Whole Person. Health or disease comes from a complex interaction of physical, emotional, mental, dietary, genetic, environmental, lifestyle and other factors. Naturopathic Doctors view the individual as a whole person, making sure to take all of these factors into account. In its approach, Naturopathic Medicine is similar to the wisdom of the past as seen in ancient healing systems such as Ayurvedic medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Homeopathy.
- Preventative Medicine. The naturopathic approach to healthcare can prevent minor illnesses from developing into more serious or chronic degenerative diseases. Patients are taught the principles by which they can prevent major illnesses and live a healthy and vibrant health.