What is a Naturopathic Doctor?
A Naturopathic doctor is a person who has earned a doctorate in Naturopathy, what some refer to as natural medicine or alternative medicine. Naturopathic doctors attend a 4 year medical school where they are trained as primary care givers. They are taught both a traditional medical curriculum as well as a naturopathic curriculum. This means that they learn all of the basic sciences like anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, etc., as well as naturopathic courses, such as homeopathy, nutrition, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, Chinese medicine, environmental medicine, physical medicine, and pharmacology.
How are Naturopathic doctors and Medical doctors similar?
The similarity between an ND and an MD is that both use current lab testing and patient investigations to reach a diagnosis. And, they both are able to treat a myriad of diseases such as acute infections and traumas, such as colds, sprains, UTI’s, strep throat, etc., as well as chronic diseases, such as arthritis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, migraines, depression, and chronic pain.
In some states ND’s are licensed to prescribe medications. Although, this is not the primary treatment that an ND will usually choose, a Naturopath can prescribe a medication if it is absolutely necessary to the prognosis.
How are Naturopathic doctors and Medical doctors different?
Where ND’s and MD’s differ is in their treatment methods. MD’s will automatically prescribe pharmaceutical medications to treat the symptoms or the disease. Naturopaths take a completely different approach.
Naturopath’s look at the whole person and look for the root cause of the person’s health concerns. Once they find the root cause, they will base their treatment on guiding the person’s body back into a state of balance where proper functioning can ensue. ND’s will take a complete history of the person, often spending over an hour with the patient to get a complete picture.
Naturopathic doctors will look at diet, lifestyle factors, emotional health, stress levels, chemical/ toxic exposures, and family history as contributory causes. Treatment plans will often take all of these factors into account and aim to correct the imbalances. The result of this way of practicing medicine is that each treatment plan is individualized to the person’s needs.
The biggest tool of the ND is education about the factors that may be contributing to the patient’s illness and how to make diet and lifestyle modifications to support optimal health.
What patients say about Naturopathic Doctors
People who have sought naturopathic care often report the following:
• Feeling that a doctor finally listened to them
• Feeling in control of their own health
• Finally being pain free
• Better energy than they have ever felt before
• Symptoms they had for years finally disappear
• Actually getting better
Please note for Texas:
The state of Texas does not currently license Naturopathic Doctors at this time; therefore, Naturopaths cannot prescribe pharmaceutical drugs, diagnose, nor claim to treat disease in the state of Texas. The Naturopaths in Texas are putting forth efforts to get licensure passed in Texas. If you would like to support our endeavor to have naturopathic medicine more accessible to the residents of Texas, please visit the website http://txand.org/ to make a donation or find out how to help.