Naturopathic medicine is a system that uses natural remedies to help the body heal itself. This approach embraces many medicinal therapies, including massage, herbs, exercise, nutritional counseling, and acupuncture. Though naturopathy has gained some serious momentum as of late, its methods of treatment are actually centuries old. Through combining modern science with natural traditional treatments, this approach will likely continue to help the masses deal with all kinds of health problems.
There are approximately 5,000 naturopathic doctors (NDs) in the U.S. who are currently licensed, having graduated from an accredited 4-year naturopathic medical school.
“We believe in improving your health by treating the root cause of health problems,” said Dr. Anna Feagan, founder and owner of BioMed Health Center. “The current medical system is really great at life-saving emergency medicine, but we feel it lacks precision in the preventative and optimal wellness categories. It takes time and dedication to investigate your health concerns at a deeper level than just treating the symptoms you present with. In other words, our approach focuses on optimizing the body’s natural biological systems already in place to overcome any health obstacles, rather than shutting down symptoms with pharmaceuticals. This requires us to formulate personalized treatment recommendations for each individual, which we have found is the only way to generate consistently positive outcomes.”
This medical approach can’t address every medical issue. The top five medical diagnoses given in urgent care centers during 2016 were acute upper respiratory infections, acute sinusitis, acute pharyngitis, cough, and fever. However, with proper training and healthcare knowledge, NDs can surely make a difference in their patients’ lives.
According to The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, there are six principles which are the foundation of naturopathic medical practice:
- The Healing Power of Nature — This medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in people. NDs act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, as well as facilitate the self-healing process.
- Identify and Treat the Causes — NDs identify and remove the underlying cause of illness rather than merely suppress or attempt to eliminate symptoms.
- First Do No Harm — NDs follow three guidelines in order to prevent harming patients:
- Utilize methods that minimize the harmful side effects, using the least amount of force necessary to diagnose and treat.
- Avoid (whenever possible) the harmful suppression of symptoms.
- Acknowledge, respect, and work with a person’s individual self-healing process.
- Doctor as Teacher — NDs educate each one of their patients and emphasize the importance of self-health. Additionally, NDs recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
- Treat the Whole Person — NDs treat each patient by taking their physical, mental, genetic, social, emotional, environmental, and other factors into account.
- Prevention — Preventable medication errors impact more than 7 million patients annually. NDs focus on the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity, and susceptibility to diseases.
These naturopathic health professionals have learned the same basic sciences as conventional medical doctors (MDs), but they take it so much further. A lot of research still needs to be done — but this natural approach to healing is becoming a legitimate approach, shaking up the entire healthcare sector.