Naturopathic medicine is all about keeping healing and wellness as natural as possible. This means that naturopathic medicine helps the body to heal itself from injury and illness, and it also helps the body to prevent future illness through healthy living practices. This doesn’t mean a lifestyle of self-denial, but a lifestyle including dietary choices, the use of dietary supplements, and the use of foods with medicinal properties such as herbal teas that enhance health and longevity. Physical therapy including a more physically invigorating life might be included in these naturopathic health remedies.
The philosophy of naturopathy is “an ounce of prevention’s worth a pound of cure”. But naturopathy also makes full use of modern medical research and diagnostic techniques. If modern pharmaceuticals are needed and they are the best option, they are utilized. However, these are to be kept to a minimum. By blending together time-tested methods of health maintenance and medical options with new discoveries and modern scientific research, naturopathic medicine balances together what is already known and proven with what can be newly discovered and applied. It is accepted that this is how the fullness of health, wellness, and any needed medical intervention is brought to bear with significance on a person’s life.
So a naturopathic doctor (ND) is more of an educator than a prescriber of pills, with natural treatments and preventive medicine such as the aforementioned eating right always looked to first before pharmaceuticals or invasive medicine such as surgery are turned to.
For someone to become a Naturopathic Doctor in North America, he must get under his hat a miniumum of seven years of post secondary education. In this will be included at least one university undergraduate degree to which is then added a four year full-time naturopathic medicine program accredited by the Council of Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). He will have to pass a series of standardized board exams overseen by the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy – Naturopathy (BDDT-N) as well as exams issued for the North American standardized Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exams (NPLEX) certification. An ND understands naturopathic science, bio-medical science, clinical science, and clinical education methods. An ND must also attend continuing education courses in order to maintain his license.
The first principle of naturopathy is to do no harm. This means making use of diagnostic tools and therapeutic medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effects. Next, it is paramount to treat the causes of diseases rather than wait for the symptoms to manifest and simply strike at the branches of the tree of illness instead of the trunk of its cause. It is not good enough to merely suppress symptoms; the root cause is what must be medically dealt with. Naturopathy’s mission is to heal the whole, unique person through comprehensive, individualized treatment approaches.
With its emphasis on natural treatments, minimizing drugs and surgery, prevention, and individual customization of medicine, naturopathy is being turned to more and more by doctors and patients today.