What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic doctors make up a singular branch of the medical tree; they are invested with a comprehensive and integrated vision of health and wellness. Naturopathic medicine is based on the belief that the human body has an innate healing ability. Naturopathic doctors (NDs or NMDs) teach their patients to use diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and cutting-edge natural therapies to enhance their bodies’ ability to ward off and combat disease in order to achieve a whole new level of wellness. NDs view the patient as a complex, interrelated system, a whole person. Naturopathic doctors create comprehensive treatment plans that blend the best of modern medical science, including pharmaceuticals when absolutely necessary, and traditional natural medical approaches to not only treat disease, but also restore health.
- Utilization of therapies that first do no harm
- Prevention of disease through health lifestyle and control of risk factors
- Recognition and encouragement of the body’s inherent healing abilities
- Treatment of the whole person – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual
- Identification and treatment of the causes of diseases rather than elimination of symptoms
- Education of the patient and cultivation of an attitude of personal responsibly for one’s health
Naturopathic physicians attend an accredited 4-year naturopathic medical school and graduate with a doctorate in naturopathic medicine (N.D. or N.M.D.). In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician is required to complete four years of training in clinical nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, physical manipulations, psychology, and counseling. The emphasis of their education is on prevention and optimizing wellness. A naturopathic physician takes rigorous professional board exams so that he or she may be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care general practice physician. In the State of Arizona, naturopathic physicians are primary care physicians.