Naturopathic Medicine

When you get sick you most likely will go to the doctor. The doctor usually an MD will examine you ask about the symptoms then give you at least one and sometimes several prescriptions to relieve the symptoms and supposedly cure the disease that the doctor has diagnosed you as having.

The drugs may have bad side effects; many drugs thought to be safe by the allopathic community have been known to be fatal even when used as described and as prescribed by a physician. You only have to turn on the TV to see the number of class action suits against the pharmaceutical companies and the drugs that have been removed from the market after many years. Think Phen Phen and Mitral Valve relapse or Vioxx (the SAFE Pain reliever for athletes is what my doctor called it). Lipitor the cholesterol lowering drug has come under attack for false advertising because the claims being made have not been substantiated.

One other choice might be to call an ND or Doctor of Naturopathy. The ND will also examine you but will likely ask a lot more questions and spend possibly over an hour with you. The allopathic physician will likely see you for short period, maybe only a couple minutes, then send the nurse in to give you a shot or hand you some prescriptions for pharmaceuticals.

Naturopathic medicine is a system of healing that includes healing methods from numerous cultures such as Homeopathy, Natural Hygiene, Chinese medicine, Native American medicine as well as Western European. The principle belief is that given the proper care and treatment the body will heal itself. ND’s will use techniques and remedies that are natural and non toxic.

The ND will use any and all healing methods that support the philosophy. The ND may recommend nutritional support, whole food diets, herbal medicine, and detoxification. The ND may also recommend homeopathic treatments, hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercise, and lifestyle counseling. Basically as long as the method supports the body’s healing processes then the method can be used by the ND.

Naturopathic medicine can encompass a very broad range of healing modalities but all of these modalities will meet the 6 criteria that are the basis for Naturopathy.

First and foremost- the prime directive you might call it is Primum Non Nocere which is Latin for “First Do No Harm” The ND will always choose the therapies that limit the possibility of harmful side effects. Any treatment that suppresses the symptoms is avoided as this can interfere with the healing process. Example if you have a cough it is because your body is attempting to rid itself of poisons. If you suppress the cough with cough medicine the poison stays in the body and you go from a cold to pneumonia much quicker. A well known physician was on TV not long ago and had put a question to the audience about the benefits of cough medicine in regards to healing a cold. His conclusion was that there was no benefit.

Second the ND will do his/her best to treat the whole person. I have put together a presentation that I give sometimes which I entitled the six elements of wellness. Health is not just about not being ill; wellness is not just about being disease free. Mental, physical, genetic, spiritual, environmental, and social factors all come together to determine “wellness” or health.

Third the ND will use the healing power of nature. The body was designed to be able to heal itself and even prevent future disease when treated properly with healthy food, clean water, proper and sufficient exercise.

Fourth the ND will attempt to isolate the cause of the symptom. If you go to an ND with High Blood Pressure the ND would search for various possible causes such as stress, weight, or genetic weakness and recommend and course of therapy that would eliminate or reduce the cause of the high blood pressure. The same would be true for many of the symptoms that the allopathic medical community refers to as diseases.

Fifth the ND believes that as my dad was so fond of saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. By assessing risk factors the ND will help you with lifestyle changes that will build up your immune system and help you keep from getting ill in the first place.

6th and last but far from least the ND will act as a teacher. ND’s do not believe in magic bullets and do not supply these to their clients. The doctor’s role is to educate the person and then the person would take responsibility for their own health.

The first visit to a ND will likely take much longer than the first visit to the allopathic physician. This is because the ND will ask numerous questions about your past and present health. In some states ND can order blood tests, X-Rays and do certain procedures.

Naturopaths are trained as primary care providers, which allow them to help clients with a considerable variety of conditions. If you have a condition needing immediate attention you should go to a hospital. After the emergency has passed a naturopath can recommend certain treatments to help with recovery.

There are numerous schools providing the ND degree through correspondence courses but there are only three resident schools that offer a fully accredited ND program and there are only 12 states that provide licensure for ND’s