What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a comprehensive system of care that combines our modern understanding of health and disease with traditional, natural healing techniques. It is aimed at discovering the root cause of illness, utilizing the least invasive techniques to optimize health, and holds a focus on prevention and whole-patient care.
Naturopathic doctors are trained to find and treat the underlying cause of disease, rather than focus solely on symptomatic treatment. The practice of naturopathic medicine is defined by its principles rather than its methods or modalities. Where methods are chosen upon the basis of patient individuality, principles act as the cornerstone guidelines of any naturopathic practice. Naturopathic doctors work to restore balance in a gentle and effective way, minimizing the potential for side effects. Above all, naturopathic medicine honors the body’s innate wisdom to heal.
Naturopathic Doctor Training
Licensed naturopathic doctors are required to complete an undergraduate degree as well as a four-year medical program at an accredited institution. Naturopathic medical students receive training in the same basic sciences as conventional medical students with additional coursework in holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy. The curriculum includes in-depth training in diagnosis and treatment of disease, with an emphasis on disease prevention and wellness optimization.
Graduates from naturopathic medical schools are additionally required to pass a comprehensive Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam (NPLEX). Successful completion of this exam allows naturopaths to become licensed or registered in the jurisdiction which they practice. There are currently 17 states that have licensing laws for naturopathic physicians, including Minnesota.
Naturopathic doctors are trained in primary care and are experts in the field of natural medicine. They are trained to treat all aspects of family health and wellness, from pediatrics to geriatrics. They use a holistic, individualized approach to assessment and treatment with a focus on prevention and self-care. Therapies used by naturopathic doctors are tailored to meet individual needs, factoring in the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual aspects of each patient.
Naturopathic doctors work in conjunction with all other branches of medical science, and will refer patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment on a case-by-case basis.