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Finding A Naturopath Doctor

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A naturopath doctor is a licensed health care specialist who uses natural, drug-free, non-invasive therapies to aid the body in self-healing while focusing on the whole person and the cause of the patient’s ailments, rather than just the symptom. Naturopath doctors aim to use the least amount of intervention necessary to diagnose your illness and restore your health.

Defining Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine is a complementary and alternative medicine that emphasizes the body’s inherent ability to heal and maintain itself. Naturopathy has evolved from the belief in the healing power of nature to remove barriers from within the body and restore optimal overall health. This form of medicine focuses on minimal intervention as well as optimal prevention through a healthy diet and lifestyle and the use of natural remedies.

What is a naturopath doctor?

A naturopath doctor is a licensed physician who employs natural, non-toxic healing methods and focuses on holistic, proactive prevention to treat the whole person, body, mind, and spirit. Using drug-free, non-invasive treatments, naturopathic physicians minimize intervention and side effects and aid the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain overall optimal health. Using a whole person approach, the naturopathic doctor identifies barriers to good health and creates a comprehensive treatment plan to help the patient achieve good health.

Naturopath physicians work in chiropractic clinics, private practices, hospitals, clinics, and community health centers. Physicians must go through rigorous training, much like those who receive degrees in conventional medicine, to become an accredited, licensed naturopath doctor. Licensed doctors of naturopathy are trained to treat common ailments, such as allergies, chronic pain, digestive issues, obesity, hormonal imbalance, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the use of natural healing agents. However, they do not practice major surgery.

Naturopathic doctors aim to treat both acute and chronic ailments, as well as prevent disease, with the use of natural remedies, such as herbs and foods, rather than surgery or synthetic drugs. Although, the main focus of naturopathic medicine is on preventing disease and educating patients. The scope of naturopathic medicine may include any of the following:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Clinical nutrition
  • Botanical medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Chinese medicine
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Manipulative therapy
  • Environment medicine
  • Minor surgery

Finding A Naturopath Doctor

There are currently 15 states that have licensing laws for naturopathic doctors, which includes that the physicians must graduate from a four-year, residential naturopathic medical school and a pass a postdoctoral board examination to become licensed. In accordance with the states’ licensing laws, naturopathic physicians must also fulfill state-mandated continuing education requirements each year to maintain licensure. The following states and US territories currently have licensing laws for naturopath doctors:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Plus, the United States Territories of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands

It is important to distinguish the difference between naturopathic doctors (N.D.) who have finished an accredited four-year program and those who have completed online course to earn the title of N.D.

Look for doctors have graduated from a residential program approved by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Also check your state’s licensing laws that govern doctors of naturopathy. If licensing laws exist in your state, make sure your naturopath doctor he or she is licensed.

What To Expect During Your First Visit

The first thing you may notice during your initial consultation is the amount of time your naturopathic physician takes with you – in fact, first visits generally last one to two hours and follow-up visits range from 30 to 60 minutes. This extra time gives the doctor sufficient time to ask questions and get a broad scope of your conditions, medical history, diet, stress levels, use of drugs and alcohol, and what ailments you are concerned about.

Your naturopath doctor will also perform a thorough physical exam, educate you on natural treatments that can aid you in alleviating your ailments, discuss diet, and other natural remedies for managing your health. While an ND can diagnose disorders that same way an MD does, naturopathic physicians aim to design treatments that prevent illness. So, be prepared to take home a plan that encompasses changes in your diet, exercise, and lifestyle to maintain overall wellness.

Naturopath Treatments

Doctors of naturopathy can offer a wide range of health-related services, such as primary care, support of wellness, and complementary treatment of chronic and acute conditions, such as colds and flu. Many naturopathic physicians also offer complementary care for patients who are suffering serious illnesses.

Some common treatments used by naturopath physicians include the following:

  • Nutritional counseling
  • Herbal medicine
  • Homeopathic medicine
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Detoxification
  • Spirituality
  • Counseling

Is naturopathy safe?

Naturopathic medicine has been proven to be a safe and effective treatment for acute conditions and best used in conjunction with conventional medicine in treating more serious, chronic illnesses. Naturopathic care is an appropriate treatment for chronic low-back pain, for example.

Naturopathy has been practiced for several hundred years and is currently being practiced in many countries, especially in the United States and Canada. This form of medicine is based on the belief of the healing power of nature, rather than the use of synthetic medicines. Look for physicians who are licensed and who have received their degree from an accredited four-year program.

If you are looking for alternative treatments or natural medicines to complement your conventional medical treatment, consult with a naturopath doctor to determine how you could benefit from naturopathy.

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