Are Naturopaths Doctors & What Are The Benefits Of Working With Them?

    After the industrial revolution in the 18th century, scientists made significant discoveries in the field of science. They found causes of different diseases and then came out with ways to address those factors. The 19th and 20th centuries saw advancements in infection control. By the end of the 20th century, the death rate from infection had fallen to a mere 4% from the 30% figure of the 19th century. This was the advent of modern medicine. The current millennium is experiencing breakthroughs in modern medicine by the minute. Yet, all being said and done, both doctors and naturopaths alike are finding solutions back in traditional remedies.

    Why Are We Returning To Traditional Healing?

    Because modern ways of disease prevention and control have their side effects and limitations. Also, the conventional treatment caters more to the symptoms of a disease instead of addressing the root cause of an ailment. The World Health Organization defines health as:

    “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

    Modern medicine does not meet the benchmark set by the health authorities. Because it addresses health via different faculties. It is here that modern medicine takes a U-turn to find health solutions in traditional methods of healing and self-care. If we call this backtracking of modern medicine evolving, it will not be wrong. And it is here that naturopathic medicine comes into existence.

    Naturopathic medicine is a debatable subject for some who do not consider it a therapeutic module. Yet, it draws a large following from all around the world. 

    What Is Naturopathic Medicine?

    Comparatively, naturopathy is a discipline of medicine that treats disease via natural remedies. These may include acupuncture, herbs, massages, homeopathy, exercise, nutritional coaching, counseling, body detox, etc. Naturopathic medicine takes a restorative and integrative approach that explicitly works to promote self-healing of the body. That is why it is common to use it in conjunction with holistic medicine, which embraces conventional or complementary therapeutic approaches to achieve whole-person health.

    The basic principles of naturopathic medicine include:

    • Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam). Addressing the root cause of a symptom
    • The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae). Switching on the body’s self-healing mode
    • First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere). Use of safe, non-invasive methods to eliminate side effects
    • Treat the Whole Person. Treatment of the patient holistically instead of the disease entity only
    •  Doctor as Teacher (Docere). Educating patients about self-care and self-healing
    •  Disease prevention and self-care

    Naturopathy functions in a holistic philosophy. It means achieving optimal health by restoring and maintaining overall health, including the body, mind, spirit, and emotions. If you are visiting a naturopathic doctor, expect a mind-body-spirit approach from the other side. This brings us to a question often asked.

    Are Naturopaths Doctors?

    According to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, anyone who gets training and education in recognized naturopathic medical colleges is called a naturopathic doctor. Such doctors treat the root cause of illnesses and design a personalized (customized) treatment program suitable for an individual. A naturopathic doctor (ND) is trained and equipped to deliver primary health care. Specializations in specific fields can also be pursued.

    To get a license in the subject field, an ND follows a four-year professional program. The first two years of an ND are similar to traditional medical students, learning basic biomedical and diagnostic science. The last two years are specified for naturopathic therapeutic modules in addition to extensive clinical involvement. Upon completing the four years of studies, an ND must pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX). The training makes the NDs not only good at diagnostics but also practitioners of preventive medicine. They can address a wide range of chronic health issues such as:

    An ND utilizes traditional treatment methods as performing minor surgeries or ordering lab reports and holistic therapies as nutrition counseling, homeopathic treatment, hydrotherapy, prescribing botanical medicines, etc. The principle focus remains the same: treating the underlying imbalance and suggesting ways to ignite the body’s natural healing processes. In this way, an ND also acts to educate and coach a patient about steps towards self-healing.

    So the answer to the question is: No, a naturopath doctor is not a real doctor because they are not allowed to practice medicine. However, when it comes to their field, they are called naturopathic doctors because they have the prerequisites to be called one.

    Benefits Of Naturopathic Medicine

    Naturopathy medicine is gaining popularity because the naturopath medical doctor treats the patient at a more personal level. They focus on details like genetics, environment, occupation, and emotional well-being. Naturopathy is tagged with fewer or almost no side effects. For example, treating pre-diabetes requires educating the patient about diet control and exercise.

    Naturopathic therapies are also economical and cost-effective. Health insurance may not cover them, but they reduce the total burden of chronic disease. So in a way, they are inexpensive.


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