Frequently Asked Questions About Naturopathic Medicine
Q: How does Naturopathic Medicine work?
A: Naturopathic Medicine supports and promotes the body’s natural healing process, leading to a person’s highest state of wellness. By addressing the causes of disease, individualizing treatment, and integrating the naturopathic principles and treatments, optimal health can be attained.
Q: What conditions do naturopathic doctors see?
A: All of them! Because Naturopathic Medicine focuses on the health of the entire body and not the specific disease, there is never a case where some supportive care can be taken to better allow the vital force to work in regaining health and balance. Naturopathic medicine has the ability to assist with any condition that is treated with conventional interventions. Additionally, many conditions that are deemed “untreatable” by allopathic physicians have been dramatically improved with naturopathic therapies.
Q:How is Naturopathic Medicine different from conventional medicine?
A: The main difference is in the philosophical approach as outlined in the Naturopathic Principles. While most emergency situations should be handled with conventional medicine, Naturopathic Medicine is often the best approach for the treatment and prevention of chronic illnesses with a focus on dietary and lifestyle that can lead to such conditions. Colds and flus are also effectively treated with Naturopathic Medicine because the therapies used support the body’s immune system. Conventional medicine and Naturopathic medicine can use medicine and surgery to decrease or eliminate unwanted symptoms. However, NDs also look more closely to determine the cause of disease(s) and utilize therapies that work with the body’s natural healing ability. NDs typically spend more time with their patients to foster a strong doctor-patient relationship and empower patients with tools to maintain optimal health. Sharing information and answering questions is an essential aspect of naturopathic health care.
Q: What is the difference between naturopathy and homeopathy?
A: Naturopathy encompasses the entire spectrum of natural medicine of which homeopathy is just one part. Homeopathy is a system which uses extremely small doses of natural substances to stimulate the body’s own ability to heal, and thus is based on many of the same principles as naturopathy. One way to compare homeopathy or the understanding of homeopathy is the idea of vaccines.
Both homeopathics and vaccines use small amounts of a substance that can facilitate a reaction within the body. Homeopaths often only prescribe homeopathic medicine whereas Naturopathic Doctors use homeopathy as well as other therapies.
Q: Is Naturopathic Medicine effective?
A: Naturopathic medicine has its own unique body of knowledge, evolved and refined through experience for centuries. It also incorporates scientific advances from medical disciplines throughout the world. Many of the individual therapies used in naturopathic medical practice have been scientifically validated, especially in the area of clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture and manipulation. Research is vital to any profession and is consistently being done throughout the globe.
Q: Is Naturopathic Medicine safe?
A: Yes. The safety record in states with regulatory boards is excellent. NDs can purchase malpractice insurance at very low rates which indicates the chance of being injured through malpractice is low. NDs are experts in the safe use of natural therapies. Pregnant women, newborns, and all others including those in the geriatric phase of life can safely use naturopathic medicine. Terminally ill persons can benefit safely as well.
Q: How is a Naturopathic doctor trained?
A: Naturopathic education is precluded by a traditional four-year pre-med undergraduate degree. ND’s are trained at any one of seven accredited Naturopathic colleges that is recognized by the United States Department of Education. The education includes a minimum of four additional years. The first two years are focused on basic sciences, pathology, & diagnosis. The latter years are concentrated on a variety of therapies, including botanical medicine, nutrition, physical manipulation, homeopathy, minor surgery & pharmacology. Specialty focus is given to individual organ systems, with classes in gastroenterology, proctology, cardiology, gynecology, and neurology. After graduation, all ND’s must pass national board exams, as well as state licensing exams. In cases of ND’s practicing in states that do not offer a license (such as New York), practitioners hold a license in a different state, so as to be held to regulation and continuing education requirements. For more detailed information on this please visit the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges.
Q: Are there other kinds of “naturopaths” or “NDs” in the United States?
A: Because naturopathic medicine is not regulated in all 50 states (including New York), some individuals who do not meet the educational standards of the profession call themselves “naturopaths” or “NDs.” Such individuals may have degrees or diplomas from correspondence schools, weekend seminars, certifying agencies that confer naturopathic credentials based on other kinds of health education, home study schools without state or federal authority to grant degrees, or schools without naturopathic programs or faculty. None of these programs qualify a candidate to sit for national board exams or to receive licensure in any state. In some states, individuals use the title simply by paying a fee for a business license requiring no evidence of education. Patients should know what they are getting when they seek the services of a naturopathic physician. Only state licensure can guarantee the training and safety to which patients are entitled.
Q: Are NDs opposed to drugs and major surgery?
A: No. NDs are not opposed to invasive or suppressive measures when these methods are necessary. They make referrals for such treatment when appropriate.