Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

What are naturopathic doctors?

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are primary care doctors specializing in the use of natural treatments. They have attended 4 years of clinical graduate level education, including training in medical diagnosis, herbal medicine, nutrition, homeopathy, and physical medicine. They must successfully complete a series of licensing board examinations and hold a license to practice in many states. Naturopathic doctors take a holistic approach and focus on treating the cause of illness and pain, not just the symptoms. Naturopathic doctors take the time to get to know your personal health history and develop individualized natural treatment plans.

Naturopathic Education

Naturopathic medical colleges are four-year postgraduate schools with admissions' requirements comparable to those of conventional medical schools. The degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine requires four years of graduate level study in the medical sciences including: anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, clinical and physical diagnosis, laboratory diagnosis, cardiology, neurology, radiology, minor surgery, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, dermatology and oncology Throughout the four years, there is training in naturopathic therapeutics, including therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, natural childbirth, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulative therapy, and other therapies. The hours of coursework and supervised clinical training are comparable to a traditional medical education. There are presently four professionally recognized universities of Naturopathic Medicine in the United States.

Naturopathic Schools

Bastyr University www.bastyr.edu
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine www.scnm.edu
University of Bridgeport www.bridgeport.edu
National College of Naturopathic Medicine www.ncnm.edu

Licensing and scope of practice of Naturopathic Doctors

Naturopathic doctors are currently licensed in 14 states and Washington DC, with many other states undergoing licensing efforts. Licensing is important to protect patients from practitioners claiming to be naturopathic doctors, but have not undergone the rigorous training of graduates from the four recognized naturopathic medical schools (Bastyr, NCNM, SCNM, and Bridgeport). The scope of practice of naturopathic physicians varies from state to state, but normally includes physical and laboratory diagnosis, treatment with therapeutic nutrition, supplements, botanical medicines, homeopathy, physical medicine, and may include the use of certain prescription drugs and minor surgery.

Naturopatic Organizations:

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) www.naturopathic.org
Colorado Association of Naturopathic Physicians (CoANP) www.coanp.org

Naturopathic Doctors are Guided by Six Principles

This set of principles, emphasized throughout a naturopathic physician's training, outlines the philosophy guiding the naturopathic approach to health and healing and forms the foundation of this distinct health care practice.

  1. First Do No Harm - Primum Non Nocere
    The naturopathic physician chooses remedies and therapies that are safe and effective, to increase overall health and decrease harmful side effects.
  2. Harness the Healing Power of Nature - Vis Medicatrix Naturae
    The naturopathic physician works to restore and support the powerful and inherent healing abilities of the body, mind and spirit. Naturopathic medicine harnesses the vast potential of the natural world to stimulate the process of healing and prevent further disease from occurring.
  3. Identify and Treat the Cause - Tolle Causam
    The primary goal of the naturopathic physician is to determine and treat the underlying causes of illness, rather than simply managing the symptoms.
  4. Treat the Whole Person - Holism
    Each person is unique and requires individualized care. In treating the cause of any condition, the naturopathic physician takes into account not only a person's physical symptoms, but also the person who has the symptoms. Disease affects the entire person, not just a specific organ or system. Thoughts, feelings, lifestyle, family history, environmental stresses, nutritional status and general physical state are all carefully evaluated and addressed.
  5. Educate - Docere
    The naturopathic physician helps people understand health and illness, to give them the tools to live in balance and become responsible for their own health.
  6. Prevention
    Naturopathic physicians focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.

Since naturopathic physicians focus on the whole person and not only symptoms, we successfully treat a wide range of conditions. We use safe and effective natural treatments.

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