Naturopathic medicine’s origins are in the nature cure movement of the 19th century. The earliest doctors used herbs, food, water, fasting, and tissue manipulation to restore the body to health. Today’s naturopathic doctors (NDs) combine the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science.
Naturopathic medicine is not symptom management. Naturopathic doctors identify and address the root cause of disease using natural therapies, such as nutrition, homeopathy, herbs, and hydrotherapy. Lifestyle counseling is also an integral part of the medicine. Naturopathic doctors collaborate with all branches of medical science. We believe an integrated approach to your health is the best one.
Naturopathic doctors are the nation’s leading experts in natural medicine and natural health care. Naturopathic doctors are trained as primary care practitioners at fully accredited naturopathic medical schools. The education includes basic medical sciences, conventional diagnostic and treatment methods, and natural therapeutics. Clinical experience is a fundamental aspect of naturopathic doctors’ education as well.
Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
The following are the six guiding principles of naturopathic medicine:
- First, Do No Harm. This is a based upon three aspects to ensure patients’ safety. First, naturopathic doctors use safe and non-toxic therapies with few or no side effects. Second, when possible, do not suppress symptoms. Third, each treatment plan is individualized to meet patients’ varying needs.
- Identify and Treat the Cause. Unless the root cause is addressed, symptoms will return and illness will persist. Naturopathic doctors help their patients find the cause and address it accordingly.
- The Body Has the Inherent Wisdom to Heal. Our bodies are wise and we must honor the messages they are relaying to us. Symptoms are a way of the body communicating to us that something is off balance. By finding and removing barriers to self-healing, such as poor diet and and unhealthy lifestyle, naturopathic doctors facilitate the healing process.
- Treat the Whole Person. Naturopathic doctors consider patients’ unique physical, mental, emotional, environmental, genetic, social, spiritual, and sexual makeup when creating an individualized treatment plan. This comprehensive approach to care is vital to the healing process.
- Doctor Means Teacher. In addition to being doctors, NDs are also educators. Teaching patients how to eat, relax, exercise, and nurture themselves physically and emotionally is an integral part of naturopathic medicine.
- Prevention is the Best Cure. Naturopathic doctors evaluate risk factors, heredity, and susceptibility to disease with the ultimate goal of prevention. Naturopathic medicine is proactive in its approach, thus saving money, time, misery, and lives.
Naturopathic Education and Training
A naturopathic doctor (ND) attends a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school and is educated in all the basic sciences, such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, immunology, microbiology, etc. In addition to studying the basic sciences, an ND takes four years of training in nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, counseling, and natural manipulation therapy.
In addition to training in the classroom, two to three years of clinical training is a critical component to ND’s professional training. An ND takes two sets of professional board exams to become licensed as a primary care physician. Since Wisconsin is not a licensed state for naturopathic medicine, Dr. Axtell holds a license in the state of Oregon and Dr. Aponte holds a license in the state of Vermont.
Below is a chart comparing accredited naturopathic medical school curriculum with conventional medical school and unaccredited natural health training. The numbers below are classroom hours.
|National College of Naturopathic Medicine||Bastyr University – Naturopathic Medicine||Yale University||Johns Hopkins||Medical College of Wisconsin||Trinity College of Natural Health||Clayton College of Natural Health|
|Federally & Regionally Accredited Naturopathic Medical School||Federally & Regionally Accredited Conventional Medical School||Non-accredited Naturopathic Training Distance-learning Self-paced|
|Basic and Clinical Sciences:
Anatomy, Cell biology, Physiology, Histology, Pathology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Lab diagnosis, Neurosciences, Clinical physical diagnosis, Genetics, Pharmacognosy, Bio-statistics, Epidemiology, Public Health, History and philosophy, Ethics, and other coursework.
|Clerkships and Allopathic Therapeutics:
including lecture and clinical instruction in Dermatology, Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Medicine, Radiology, Pediatrics, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Neurology, Surgery, Opthamology, and clinical electives.
Including Botanical medicine, Homeopathy, Oriental medicine, Hydrotherapy, Naturopathic manipulative therapy, Ayurvedic medicine, Naturopathic Case Analysis/Management, Naturopathic Philosophy, Advanced Naturopathic Therapeutics.
|144||143||Included in psychiatry (see above)||Included in psychiatry (see above)||Included in psychiatry (see above)||0||25|
|TOTAL HOURS OF TRAINING|
|4668||4472||4311+thesis||5162||3674||784 +thesis||475 +thesis|