Naturopathy is a comprehensive medical system that uses conventional diagnostic methods and both conventional and alternative treatments. Though NDs are trained in the application of drugs and minor surgery, they prefer to use less invasive means first, such as the use of medicinal foods, nutrients, sleep, exercise and other lifestyle medicines. In addition, NDs are trained in counseling, nutrition, physical therapies, manipulation, homeopathy and water and physiotherapies. Training is extensive and consists of a four year doctoral postgraduate degree program that includes hundreds of credit hours in both classroom and clinical training.
The Principles of Naturopathic Medicine: Something that sets NDs apart from other healthcare providers is that they are guided by the following set of principles:
The Healing Power of Nature (or Vitality): There is an inherent self-healing process in the body that is ordered and intelligent.
First Do No Harm: Utilizing methods and substances that minimize the risk of harmful side effects, avoid, where possible, the harmful suppression of symptoms and acknowledge and respect the individual’s healing process, using the least force to diagnose and treat illness.
Find the Cause: Underlying causes of illness must be identified and removed before complete recovery can occur. I seek to identify and remove those underlying causes, rather than to suppress symptoms.
Treat the Whole Person: We are as different on the inside as we are on the outside. Each individual is treated by taking into account physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, genetic, environmental, social and other factors.
Prevention: Naturopathic physicians emphasize disease prevention through a variety of means. We seek to create a healthy world in which humanity may thrive.
Doctor as Teacher: The original meaning of the word “doctor” is teacher. One of the main objectives of the naturopathic physician is to educate and empower their clients.
Not all NDs are created equal! If you are searching for a Naturopathic Physician, make sure that they have been medically trained and graduated from one of the four federally accredited medical universities (Bastyr University, National College of Natural Medicine, Bridgeport University and Southwest College of Natural Medicine). There are many practitioners out there who call themselves NDs but have obtained this “degree” through the internet or a forty hour certification class. Jillian Sarno Teta is a licensed primary care physician in the state of Washington (#1637).