According to the US Department of Labor, Naturopathic Medicine is defined to, “Diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases using a system of practice that is based on the natural healing capacity of individuals.”
The methods used are physiological, psychological or mechanical methods.
Naturopathic Medicine may use natural medicines, prescription or legend drugs, foods, herbs, or other natural remedies.”
2. How is a Naturopathic Doctor different from a Conventional Primary Care Doctor?
Naturopathic Doctor’s emphasize addressing the root cause of the problem, not covering the symptoms. They look at the whole person, not just the individual body system. They withhold the 6 Naturopathic Principles:
Guiding Principle # 1
The Healing Power Of Nature – Viz Medicatrix Naturae
The body has the inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. The healing process is ordered and intelligent; nature heals through the response of the life force. The physician’s role is to facilitate and augment this process, to act to identify and remove obstacles to health and recovery, and to support the creation of a healthy internal and external environment.
Guiding Principle # 2
Identify And Treat The Cause – Viz Tolle Causam
Guiding Principle # 3
First Do No Harm – Viz Primum No Nocere
Guiding Principle # 4
Treat The Whole Person – Tolle Totum
Guiding Principle # 5
The Physician As Teacher – Viz Docere
Guiding Principle # 6
Prevention, The Best “Cure”
3. Are Naturopathic Doctors covered by my Insurance?
In states in which Naturopathic Physicians are not considered Primary Care Providers, insurance will not cover their services. States that license Naturopathic Physicians as Primary Care Providers are Alaska, California, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, and Vermont. In Arizona, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, NDs are also allowed full prescription authority. There are currently 16 Naturopathic licensed states in the United States, District of Colombia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Still, even if the money is out of pocket, the savings of treating the cause over long term management of systems is substantial. According to a letter written by the American Association of Naturopathic Medicine’s Executive Director:
“Preliminary results from a 2010 randomized controlled pragmatic trial of the whole practice of naturopathic medicine for Canada Post employees at risk for cardiovascular disease, concluded total direct costs of naturopathic treatment used to attain one year of healthy living were $1,477 (as compared to $6,631 for anti-hypertensive medications, $6,134 for statins, and $4,238- $7,829 for smoking cessation programs). The study projects that 3.3 out of every 100 workers using naturopathic medicine will avoid a major cardiac event they would have suffered without any form of lifestyle intervention. At least one person will live who would have otherwise died.3”
4. What is the Training of Licensed Naturopathic Physicians?
Naturopathic Doctors have completed a residency program of at least 4 years and have 4,100 hours of study. Licensure requires a minimum of 1,200 hours in clinical rotations. Licensed naturopathic physicians have graduated from one of the CNME approved Naturopathic schools and have passed both of their national exam boards in clinical and basic medical sciences.
In NYS and other unlicensed states, the term “Naturopathic Doctor” can be utilized by anyone who desires, as NYS does not regulate Naturopathic Physicians. A licensed Naturopathic Physician is one who attended an accredited post-graduate institution and who received clinical training.
The accrediting agencies for NDs, MDs, and DOs, are all regulated by the U.S. Department of Education and members of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA). The U.S. Department of Education and the ASPA work to set national standards for accrediting Health Professionals. The accrediting agency for Naturopathic Medicine is the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME).
Therefore, the standards of ND programs meet the equivalent regulations of MD and DO programs.
5. Why Should I see a Naturopathic Doctor and What Do They Treat?
Naturopathic Doctors treat people, not diseases. Some specialize in certain conditions while adhering to naturopathic philosophy.
Naturopathic Doctors are physicians who listen to their patients and engage them in their own healing process. Due to the fact that they base their treatments and suggestions around the Naturopathic Philosophy, Naturopathic Physicians regard the whole person. This holistic approach involves addressing the physical aspect of the disease along with the patient’s ties to their own surroundings, their specific biochemistry, and their emotional and spiritual health.
They have the training comparable to a traditional medical physician in basic medical sciences but are the only medical professional trained in herbal-drug interactions, nutrition, and other natural means. This allows an integrated approach to diseases for healing vs. specializing in one area of natural health.
Rather than just substituting natural agents for conventional drugs, a term coined “green medicine”, Naturopathic Physicians are looking for what natural product would be best for each and every individual in their care. This is based on addressing the cause of the dysfunction, not just their diagnostic label or basing suggestions solely related to the biochemistry of the latest natural agent.