Holistic Therapies: Naturopathic Education
What Is a Naturopath?
Naturopathic Doctors (ND’s) are trained as primary care physicians in an accredited graduate level institution typically taking four years or longer to complete their studies. ND’s are well trained in general health care and have specific therapeutic modalities that are their heritage. They will often blend these modalities with other consulting health care practitioners from other disciplines and specialties to form a holistic complementary medical program tailored specifically for their patients. For the patient this often includes lifestyle management using education to empower patients to become active participants in their health care and to live longer healthier lives.
The scope of practice of a Naturopathic Doctor is vast and may include a focus on clinical nutrition, physical medicine / massage, botanical medicine / herbs, homeopathic remedies, IV therapeutics, natural childbirth, oriental medicine, minor surgery, and psychological medicine as ND’s recognize that mental attitudes and emotional states may influence, or even cause physical illness.
A cornerstone of naturopathic practice is the recommendation of the ancient Greek Hippocrates (460-377 BC), who said. "Let foods be your medicine and medicine be your foods." Many medical conditions can be treated more effectively with foods, nutritional supplements and herbs than they can by other means, with fewer complications and adverse side effects. N.Ds use dietetics, fasting, and nutritional supplementation.
Naturopathic, hands on, methods of therapeutic manipulation are used on muscles, bones, lymph, and spine. N.Ds also use massage, water, heat and cold, air, exercise, ultra-sound, diathermy, and gentle electrical pulses to stimulate the body's healing systems.
Botanical Medicine (herbs)
Herbal plant substances contain powerful medicines, and many well-known medicines are derived from plants, herbs such as digitalis (from foxglove), taken by cardiac patients. Single chemically derived drugs may address only a single problem, however, botanical medicines are able to address a variety of problems simultaneously. Their organic nature makes botanicals gently effective with low toxic side effects.
The healing philosophy of Oriental medicine is well aligned with that of naturopathic medicine, offering an important understanding of the unity of the body and mind and adds to the Western understanding of physiology. Acupuncture and other energy medicines provide a method of treatment that can unify and harmonize the imbalances present in disease conditions, which stimulate the immune system and the healing response.
Homeopathic medicine is based on the principle of "like cures like." Clinical observation indicates that Homeopathic remedies work on a subtle, yet powerful energetic level, gently acting to strengthen the body's healing and immune response thereby triggering a healing process.
Naturopathic physicians provide natural childbirth care in an out-of-hospital setting. They offer prenatal and postnatal care using modern diagnostic techniques. The naturopathic approach strengthens healthy body functions to prevent complications associated with pregnancy.
As general practitioners. N.Ds are trained to do in-office minor surgery including repair of superficial wounds, removal of foreign bodies, cysts, and other superficial lesions.
Includes the administration of elements directly into a vein, intravenous therapy may be used to correct electrolyte imbalances, to deliver specific nutrients or chelating agents to reduce the load of heavy metals or plaques in the body or as fluid replacement to correct, for example, dehydration.
- Naturopathic scope of practice also includes the use of any medical substances that contain elements that are components of bodily tissues or can be employed by the body for the maintenance of life and the repair of tissues; and all methods of diagnostic testing and imaging including X-ray and ultrasound. The current scope of practice excludes major surgery and the use of most synthetic drugs.
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