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What is a naturopathic physician, and how is that different from an alternative medicine practitioner? Naturopathic medicine is a particular training in medicine founded on the healing powers of nature. This holistic approach to health includes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of each individual. The practice of naturopathic medicine prefers non-invasive treatments that minimize the risks of harmful side effects.
Naturopathic medicine treats a wide range of ailments aimed to restore health using a variety of therapies that can include nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine (including hydrotherapy, exercise, and manipulation), natural childbirth, minor surgery, counseling techniques, and Oriental medicine.
A Naturopathic medical school provides a four-year program that includes intensive training in the basic, clinical and diagnostic sciences and naturopathic therapeutics, as well as two years of supervised clinical internship. ND's are trained in medical sciences including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, cardiology, neurology, radiology, minor surgery, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, psychology, dermatology, and clinical and physical diagnosis. I graduated from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, founded in 1956, which is the oldest accredited school of natural medicine in North America located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest city of Portland, Oregon. They function as part of the larger medical community and refer to the appropriate specialists whenever indicated. A naturopathic physician in Oregon where I'm located is a licensed primary care doctor who is clinically trained to diagnose and treat many of the same conditions that a medical doctor would.
Ayurvedic Medicine - Some naturopathic physicians have a specialty in Ayurveda (the medicine of India), using pulse diagnosis, revitalization treatments, Ayurvedic botanical medicine and diet to achieve health. Botanical Medicine - Many plant substances are powerful medicines, effective and safe when used properly, in the right dose and in proper combinations with other herbs or treatments. Colon Therapy - Water and natural solutions are introduced into the colon to stimulate the body's detoxification process.
Counseling - Counseling on diet, life-style, exercise, and occupational and environmental hazards is an integral part of the naturopathic treatment program. Diagnosis - Naturopathic physicians use many conventional diagnostic tools including a thorough health history, physical examinations, X-rays, and comprehensive laboratory tests when indicated.
Homeopathy - This powerful system of medicine is based on the "law of similars" (like cures like). Natural Childbirth - Some Naturopathic physicians have a specialty in midwifery, offering non-invasive prenatal care, natural unmedicated birth (usually at home), and postnatal care for mother and infant.


Therapeutic Nutrition - Nutritional therapies have fewer complications and side effects than pharmaceutical drugs.
Prescription Medicines - Sometimes the least possible intervention includes the use of antibiotics or other pharmaceutical drugs. Physical Medicine - Various physical therapies are used to treat the body including manipulation of the muscles, bones and spine.
Oriental Medicine - Many naturopathic physicians have a specialty in Oriental medicine, and use pulse diagnosis, acupuncture, acupressure and Oriental botanical medicine.
Naturopathic treatment corrects the fundamental imbalances and restores proper function and health by safe, effective, and natural methods. Graduates receive a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree after successfully completing classroom, clinic, and practical studies.
Specialized naturopathic techniques can include therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, natural childbirth, acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, hydrotherapy, manipulative therapy, and counseling.
Like many states and provinces, Oregon's laws require extensive post-doctoral medical board examination for licensure. There are licensure laws in several states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. However, without standards in the states without licensing laws, individuals with little or no formal education may also proclaim themselves naturopathic doctors with diploma mill "degrees" or purchased certificates.
In the states that naturopathic physicians are licensed they can provide primary care services including: preventive care, the diagnosis of disease using standard laboratory tests and medical exams, and even treat the whole family using natural therapies. Naturopathic physicians successfully treat people who have acute problems like minor injuries and infections, but their greatest strength is the treatment of people with chronic diseases. Homeopathy is just one type of alternative medicine that naturopathic physicians are trained in. Naturopathic physicians are the only licensed health care providers fully trained in the use of botanical medicine.
Specially prepared dilutions of substances are carefully matched with the patient to stimulate the body's innate ability to heal.
Heat and cold, gentle electric impulses, ultrasound, diathermy, hydrotherapy and exercise therapy are also used. In the late 1800's, practitioners of several medical disciplines combined to form the first naturopathic professional medical society.


Lena Kim, ND, shares her journey of helping others as a Naturopathic Doctor.About Kathleen, Office Manager – Kathleen introduces herself.
The results of poor nutrition and lifestyle choices can lead to a decrease in resistance and the onset of disease.
Therapies treat the whole person by supporting each of these areas throughout the healing process. This approach to health care can prevent minor illnesses from developing into more serious or chronic degenerative diseases.
In the state of Oregon, we are required to attend an approved 4 year post-graduate school of naturopathic medicine after receiving a collage degree with the correct subjects studied similar to what is necessary for any accredited medical school. In Oregon, we are given a liberal drug formulary and can prescribe many pharmaceutical drugs if this becomes necessary.
Alternative medicine is a term used to describe all forms of medicine that are not "allopathic," (what is considered conventional medicine). The modern resurgence of naturopathic medicine has been built upon scientific knowledge of the mechanisms of natural healing and therapeutics.
Naturopathic medicine attempts to find the underlying cause of the patient's condition rather than focusing on symptomatic treatment. All naturopathic physicians are trained to use homeopathy, and some choose to use it as a specialty.
The more people that request coverage for this medicine, the sooner the insurance industry will provide this service. There were over twenty naturopathic medical schools, and NDs were licensed in most states, including Oregon. This is possible with treatments that support and stimulate, rather than disrupt or suppress the body's ability to heal itself. If you find one you think is consistently good let us know.Just a little more informationBetter Eating and Living, Online RecipesA very good nonprofit site promoting healthy eating that is so important to natural health and wellness. They all follow a standardized four-year full-time curriculum which results in the designation Naturopathic Doctor (ND).Their websites provide great insight into both the training that Naturopathic Doctors receive and more information on Naturopathic Medicine.



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