Standard Western medicine has historically favored a combination of the scientific and the pharmaceutical modalities of treatment, with little regard for the holistic or natural methods. While these philosophies are slowly making a dynamic shift, a naturopath practices a variety of therapies that incorporate many of those used throughout history and adopt a more natural approach to diagnosis and healing. This approach encompasses the individual as a whole, taking into consideration that there may be other circumstances that are causing pain and that each person is not only unique but may respond to treatments differently. This is almost an opposite approach to mainstream medicine that makes use of a one size fits all method, including the use of often harsh medications that have side effects that can catapult a patient into additional cascading medical problems.
Depending upon the naturopath and the country, there are naturopaths that have the ability to act as therapists but do not have the right to prescribe, while others are considered primary health care providers that do have prescribing rights. The various therapies that are involved in Naturopaths can include: Clinical Nutrition, Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy, Physical Medicine, Hydrotherapy, and Traditional Chinese Medicine. While Chiropractic is now adopted by a majority of the medical world, it is still considered to be a type of Naturopath. The main purpose of a naturopath is for treatment of the whole individual without causing harm.
As an overall concept, all Naturopaths should have training that includes the biological sciences as well as some that have completed hundreds of hours of supervised clinical practice. They should also be a member of the official Naturopathic association in the country in which they practice. In the U.S., there are some Naturopaths that have studied drug pharmacology. All Naturopaths have extensive training and education from a school that is accredited and they are board-licensed.
A practitioner that is a Naturopath applies treatments that are based on the Naturopathic principles of medicine, emphasizing:
*Nature’s healing power: Naturopathic medicine refers to ‘the healing power of nature’; that all nature, plants, animals and people, return to nature to seek the balance for healing.
*The Triad of Health: This is the interaction between the biochemical, mental and structural components of all living beings with the philosophy that if there is a dysfunction in one area it will lead to disruptions elsewhere.
*The Individual Uniqueness: Each person is biochemically, genetically, structurally and emotionally unique and will/may respond in different manners to various healing modalities.
Naturopathic Practitioners believe in holistic principles that include: Nature heals; the position of the physician is as a teacher, Do no harm to the individual, Locate any underlying causes for the problem to make the determination of what may be out of balance; The human body has inherent abilities to restore and maintain health; A diagnosis is but one aspect of the entire process; Learning new/improved behaviors of lifestyle; Establish wellness and health.
Always confer with a primary care physician before making any changes or additions to your medical regiment.