What is Naturopathic Medicine? Everything You Need to Know
By Brian Rose
Have you been looking into the practice of natural medicine? Check out this guide for everything you need to know about naturopathic medicine.
You’ve probably heard of an MD, but have you heard of a naturopathic physician or a DO? Both MDs and DOs have medical degrees that are recognized by medical advisory boards across the country, but they practice medicine differently.
The biggest difference is that DOs, or naturopathic doctors, align nature and science while MDs focus on science and medicine. Either physician is capable of caring for you, but naturopathic doctors have a special touch that many patients appreciate.
To learn more about naturopathic medicine and how it could help you, keep reading. We’re going to cover everything an educated patient needs to know.
What Is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine combines the wisdom of nature and the knowledge of science. This provides for a holistic view of a patient’s health.
Rather than focusing on the patient’s symptoms, naturopathic medicine focuses on what is causing those symptoms. Therefore, naturopathic medicine looks at how to get the root of the problem and stop it there.
By having this kind of approach, naturopathic medicine has a lot of success with treating its patients for the long term rather than for the short term. This means that patients of naturopathic physicians tend to have changes that last a long time. They don’t take medication and go right back to their old habits.
Instead, they learn skills and treatments for their conditions that they can use for the rest of their lives.
Naturopathic Physician vs Medical Physicians
For example, let’s say that a patient with a thyroid condition goes to see a physician. In Scenario A, that patient goes to see an MD. In Scenario B, that patient goes to see a DO.
In Scenario A, it’s likely that the patient is going to be prescribed Synthroid (name-brand levothyroxine). On the other hand, in Scenario B, that patient is likely to receive some kind of new diet or new lifestyle change that may help fix the thyroid issue without having the patient take medication.
We emphasize that either route is completely legitimate. However, the naturopathic route may be ideal for some of you who don’t want to take medications your whole life or what to try different things before going towards a medication.
The Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic medicine has six principles that it holds onto. These are the following:
- Do no harm.
- Identify and treat the causes.
- Treat the whole person.
- The healing power of nature
- The physician to a teacher
Naturopathic medicine has existed since the 1600s and 1700s. Since back then, naturopathic physicians have lived by and followed these principles. Today, these principles exist to protect patients and guide physicians.
Let’s look at each principle in-depth and discuss how it applies to the roles of a naturopathic physician.
1. Do No Harm
This principle guides the physician to look at the person as a human being. No matter what that human being has done, the physician is not to harm them in any way.
Even if the person is a cheater, a killer, or something else that you may not like, you still have to treat them. This is the right that human beings have as according to naturopathic physicians.
2. Identify and Treat the Causes
As we mentioned earlier, a naturopathic physician looks at the causes of different conditions and symptoms. After identifying and asking the patient about these conditions and symptoms, the naturopathic physician looks at treating the causes.
This increases the patient’s chances of getting rid of the conditions and symptoms. This is especially enjoyable to patients who don’t want to have to take medication.
By treating the causes, the naturopathic physician is ensuring that the patient is taken care of in the long-term future. If the physician were to just identify the symptoms and administer medication, the patient would not be adequately cared for as they would still have the condition that is causing the symptom.
3. Treat the Whole Person
You might have heard the term “holistic medicine.” This refers to the fact that naturopathic physicians treat people as a whole person. This means that they look at the person as a whole and determine how they can care for that person as a whole.
There is no piecing up the issues. This means that a patient who is coming in for a digestive problem will still be seen by a physician for their other underlying issues or just for a check-up of other bodily systems.
4. The Healing Power of Nature
Natural treatments like oils and herbs are great when they’re used correctly. Naturopathic physicians know how to teach their patients how to balance the power of nature that they have. This means that they can help people understand what the best natural remedies are.
5. The Physician as a Teacher
Naturopathic physicians believe that doctors and other medical providers should be teachers for their patients. This means that they should teach them how to take care of themselves.
Whether it’s following a healthy, nutritional diet or understanding what a part of their body is, the physician is there to teach the patient about their bodies and how to take care of them
Preventative medicine is the key to taking care of patients as individuals. By preventing diseases, you’re decreasing the cost of curing those diseases later and reducing the body’s exposure to the impacts that those diseases can have.
Preventative medicine is extremely important in a world filled with risk factors for diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Finding a Naturopathic Physician
If you’re interested in finding and hiring a naturopathic physician, you should consider online health consultations with our team.
Our experts can help you figure out what you can get out of naturopathic medicine and how a naturopathic physician can help you. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help.
Naturopathic physicians have a way with the human body that a regular medical doctor doesn’t have. Keep in mind that DOs are still medical physicians with licenses, so you’ll be able to refer to a naturopathic physician like you would your family doctor.