What is naturopathic medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a system of primary health care that promotes wellness and prevention of illness or disease. Naturopathic doctors are highly-educated primary care providers who integrate standard medical diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies. Naturopathic medicine plays an important role in integrative health care, and treatments can be used on their own or together with conventional medicine.
As a distinct system of primary healthcare, naturopathic medicine addresses the root causes of illness. Naturopathic medicine supports the body’s own healthy ability using treatments and prevention techniques that include acupuncture/Asian medicine, botanical medicine, physical medicine (such as massage and hydrotherapy), clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, and lifestyle counseling.
What kind of training do NDs have?
Naturopathic doctors are highly educated primary care providers. Naturopathic medical students complete a four-year full-time program after graduating from a university undergraduate program. The naturopathic medical program encompasses basic medical sciences, naturopathic principles and therapeutics and 1200 hours of supervised clinical experience. Graduates must pass two sets of provincial licensing board exams and maintain ongoing continuing education.
Naturopathic doctors are guided by six fundamental healing principles:
- First, to do no harm, by using methods and medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effects.
- To treat the causes of disease, by identifying and removing the underlying causes of illness, rather than suppressing symptoms.
- To teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine, by sharing knowledge with patients and encouraging individual responsibility for health.
- To heal the whole person through individualized treatment, by understanding the unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors that contribute to illness, and customizing treatment protocols to the patient.
- To emphasize prevention, by partnering with the patient to assess risk factors and recommend appropriate naturopathic interventions to maintain health and prevent illness.
- To support the healing power of the body, by recognizing and removing obstacles to the body’s inherent self-healing process.
(Information taken from: http://www.ccnm.edu)