Naturopaths and Naturopathic Doctors (ND) are two groups of professionals that practice naturopathy in the United States.
The major difference between the two groups lies in the area of formal education. An ND holds a bachelors degree, has completed pre-medical coursework, and has graduated from an accredited naturopathic medical college. A traditional naturopath may have little or no formal education.
Traditional naturopaths and Naturopathic Doctors (ND) follow six key principles when treating patients. These principles define who they are and how they approach medicine and life in general.
First do no harm. Originally a part of the Hippocratic Oath taken by all doctors, it seems that many health care professionals have abandoned or at least forgotten this important rule. It is difficult to say exactly how many people are injured or killed by medical malpractice or preventable medical errors each year, since published figures vary greatly, depending on the source. Estimates range from 83,000 to 784,000 deaths.
By contrast, there are no known deaths attributed to treatment prescribed by modern naturopaths or naturopathic doctors. We do not prescribe drugs, because of the large number of known side effects, adverse reactions and even deaths caused by prescription drugs. For example, Vioxx (a pain reliever) caused the deaths of over 60,000 people before it was finally removed from the market. There are other less dangerous ways to treat pain.
Nature heals. In its natural state, the body is balanced, healthy and strong. The systems of the body work together to combat disease, repair damaged cells and maintain overall health. When something disrupts the balance, illness may occur. Naturopaths attempt to return the body to that balanced state and, once health is restored, to maintain that balance for life. We have a number of treatment options at our disposal, all of which are safe, effective, natural and non-invasive.
Naturopathic doctors do not perform major surgery or procedures that “invade” the body. Surgery, although sometimes needed in emergency situations, is largely unnatural and does not fit with the first principle of “do no harm," because often the risks are too great. For instance, infection at the site of the incision is common; secondary infections are common because hospitals are breeding grounds for Staph and other bacteria; allergic reactions to anesthesia are common and, as more people are finding out, hospital errors are extremely common.
A recent study found that 1.24 million patient safety incidents occurred between the years of 2002 and 2004. In 25% of those incidents, the patient died.
Treat the whole person. Many things affect a person’s health. Naturopaths consider a person’s lifestyle, job, social life, environment, family history and other relevant factors when prescribing a treatment plan. So, each plan is unique and tailored to the individual patient.
There may be a physical cause for a condition or there may be another problem that causes unwanted physical symptoms. The cause could be mental or emotional. A condition could be related to past trauma, stress at work, family problems or any number of seemingly unrelated factors.
Treat the cause. This may seem logical. You may even think that the mainstream medical community looks for a cause, but in most cases they are too busy treating or masking the symptoms. If you ask, “What causes this?” The answer is often, “We don’t know.” Naturopathic doctors find the cause of an illness or condition by first listening to the patient. One of the complaints that many people have with their current medical care is that doctors don’t listen.
Naturopaths listen. We evaluate all of the patient’s symptoms, not just the acute symptoms. After evaluating the factors mentioned above and identifying problem areas. Then, we treat the cause by prescribing a plan that addresses those areas. Prevention is the best cure. Many major health organizations now promote this principle. If you practice a health lifestyle, you can prevent illness.
The physician is a teacher. Naturopathic doctors recognize their roles as teachers. Despite all of the health information that is available today, most people do not know how to live well. That’s understandable, because much of the published health advice is conflicting. Advice about diet or exercise is only relevant if the individual is considered. Nothing works for everyone. Naturopaths make individual recommendations and teach people how to take responsibility for their individual health and well-being in order to live longer, happier, healthier lives.
As a Naturopathic Doctor myself, I personally take on clients one-on-one to help them improve their health through education. I currently practice in East Lansing, MI and Ann Arbor, MI.
Please contact me below if you are interested in my services as a Naturopathic physician and I will contact you back ASAP.
Much more than Naturopaths discussed back at the Home Page