Naturopathic Medicine: A Basic Introduction

A Working Definition For Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine, also commonly called naturopathy, is a system of medical treatment designed around the belief that the body is capable of healing itself. Naturopathy is a preventative form of medicine intended to promote better overall health and reduce a wide range of health risks. It does this by encouraging healthy diets that rely on organic foods, balanced lifestyles, regular exercise, and the use of complementary treatments from other schools of medicine. Examples of the latter include Ayurveda, herbal medicine, and homeopathy.

The historical origins of naturopathic medicine occurred in the United States at the end of the 19th century. The field has evolved and grown since then, and today the leading advocates of naturopathy include both “traditional” naturopaths and naturopathic doctors. Proper naturopathic doctors are licensed and entitled to use the letters “ND” after their names. They achieve their position by completing a 4-year course of graduate study at a naturopathic medical school. Common subjects of study for naturopathic doctors include homeopathy, herbal medicine, and bodywork. While naturopaths also usually receive a significant amount of training, their professional credentials are less stringent that naturopathic doctors.

Most naturopaths neither seek nor receive licensure.

The majority of practitioners of naturopathic medicine are united in their advocacy for natural, holistic therapies. They believe conscientious lifestyle counseling and dietary improvements can make a significant positive impact on their patients’ lives. Naturopathic practitioners rarely dispense prescription medicines, preferring less-invasive and more sustainable alternatives like nutritional supplements, herbal medicines, and homeopathic dilutions.

What Can Naturopathy Do?

Advocates of naturopathic medicine believe in its ability to promote better health, treat illnesses, and prevent disease. Common ailments treated by naturopathic doctors include allergies, earaches, and a range of other frequent health problems.

Naturopathy And Safety

When it comes to potential risks associated with naturopathy, the two most widely-repeated concerns are that some naturopaths encourage extreme fasting and discourage vaccination.

Before engaging in any program of fasting, consult with your primary medical doctor. There are many different forms of fasting which restrict you from eating or set you on a liquid-only diet. Fasting poses a potential danger if you have long-term health issues like diabetes.

Some (not all) naturopaths and naturopathic doctors believe immunization is unnecessary. Take responsibility for the safety of you and your children by researching your options carefully and making your own choices regarding vaccination.

Keep your medical doctor informed about any naturopathic treatment or any complementary practices you are using or considering. Your doctor will always be able to help you better when he or she is fully informed about your health practices.

The bodies governing naturopathy and naturopathic doctors vary from region to region. In many places, naturopathic doctors do not need to be licensed to practice. There are some naturopathic schools which grant degrees that are not accepted by local, national, and international bodies. The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) is the highest regulatory body governing naturopathic universities and programs in both the United States and Canada.

Study a naturopathic practitioner’s educational credentials carefully before making any treatment decisions. It’s also a good idea to check your local laws governing ND licensure and verify that your practitioner has secured all the necessary credentials to operate in your region.