|Open the pathway to optimum well-being, balance, and health with naturopathic medicine. |
Why is it that many of us don't give our health and well-being the attention it deserves until someone we love or ourselves is facing a life-threatening illness or situation? If we really think about it, the option of caring for our bodies (and our mind) while we have choices is the smarter and safer approach. Adopting a method of preventative care rather than reacting in crisis when choices are often limited and time-sensitive is not only life saving, but provides and optimum quality of life. This is what naturopathic medicine is all about- treating the whole person and focusing on prevention of disease and illness while working to support and restore the body's own innate healing powers.
Naturopathy has existed since the time of Hippocrates and can be traced to the ancient traditions of Hygeia, the ancient Greek goddess of health. The philosophy and practice of naturopathic medicine is rooted in the principle that our lives are governed by a force that cares for all living things- nature.
An initial visit to your neighborhood naturopathic doctor will address individual needs and specific concerns and get you started on the wellness path. The doctor, called an ND, will develop a specific treatment plan, which may include herbs, nutritional supplements, hydrotherapy and homeopathic remedies, as well as dietary and lifestyle counseling.
A Naturopath will also interpret any symptoms you may be experiencing, unearth core issues behind each symptom and encourage release and relief from both the symptom and the disease causing it, through the self-regulating systems of the body. Naturopathic doctors view symptoms as friendly 'reminders' that the body is out of balance. An assessment is then made to encourage the body's natural healing powers to restore the body's ability to be balanced and free of emotional and physical extremes. This is when the 'bodymind' is at-one in health.
WHAT EXACTLY IS A NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIAN?
Naturopathic physicians (NDs) are general practitioners that are trained specifically in natural medicine. They are educated in the conventional medical sciences however, they are not traditional medical doctors (MDs). Naturopathic physicans graduate from a four-year accredited naturopathic medical school. They must pass a national board exam (NPLEX) to practice in the states that license naturopathic doctors- Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington- and can also get licensed in the US territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Most naturopathic physicians hold a license in one of the aforementioned states even though they may be practicing in a state that does not license such health care. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) supports legislation to license NDs in all states in order to distinguish properly trained physicians from those who are not.
WHAT IS THE NATUROPATHIC APPROACH?
Naturopathic physicians treat disease and restore balance in the body through the use of diet, nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, counseling, and hydrotherapy. Naturopathic medicine is very effective in treating both acute and chronic diseases. Naturopathic physicians commonly refer patients to specialists and other health care providers for diagnosis and treatment and also to perform physical exams, laboratory testing, gynecological exams, nutritional and dietary assessments, allergy testing, X-rays, and other means of diagnosis.
The integration of conventional medicine with naturopathic medicine provides excellent care for patients. Naturopaths do not prescribe or diagnose a particular disease; they believe that there is 'one' health and 'one' disease- the absence of health. Naturopathic practitioners remain the true educators of employing natural methods to attain optimum health. Many of the consultation or 'intake' sessions involve various methods of test analysis, including specific forms of testing not used in conventional medicine. Other alternative natural health care practices that are commonly used in conjunction with basic naturopathic care include homeopathy, herbal science, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, chiropractic medicine, kinesiology, clinical aromatherapy, and Ayurvedic treatments.
Originally published in FIT YOGA
Return to Dr. Maria's Home Page