- First, to do no harm. Naturopathic physicians strive to use interventions that minimize the risk of harmful side effects.
- Treat the underlying causes of disease. NDs address the root cause of the illness rather than simply treating symptoms.
- Teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine. Naturopathic physicians consider themselves teachers, rather than healers, and believe in shared, informed decision making.
- Heal the whole person through individualized treatment. NDs understand that each individual has unique social, environmental, genetic, physical, emotional and spiritual factors that contribute to health.
- Support the healing power of the body. Naturopathic physicians trust that when obstacles to health are removed, the body will be able to heal itself.
Naturopathic doctors are highly educated. Licensed naturopathic physicians have completed a four-year full-time program after graduating from a university undergraduate program. The naturopathic medical program encompasses basic medical sciences, naturopathic therapeutics and 1200 hours of clinical education. There are two sets of licensing board exams that NDs must pass in addition to maintaining ongoing continuing education. Some NDs are also licensed to provide pharmaceutical prescription medications after passing further examinations.
What to Expect
Visits with a naturopathic physician are typically 30 – 60 minutes and involve a thorough medical history, physical examination and laboratory testing when appropriate. Longer visits mean you won’t feel rushed to explain your symptoms and leave plenty of time to have your questions answered.
For some people, naturopathic doctors act as primary care providers and provide routine physical exams, pap smears and blood work. For most people, NDs act as part of your health care team and work together with your family doctor and other care providers.
Naturopathic physicians have a very wide scope of practice and use a number of therapies to support their patients. These commonly include:
- Clinical nutrition
- Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine
- Lifestyle counseling
- Herbal medicines
- Vitamin and mineral supplementation
- Injection therapies
- Pharmaceutical drugs including hormones when deemed necessary