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Modern Health Paradigms


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What Is Naturopathic Medicine?

A licensed naturopathic physician (N.D.) attends a four-year, graduatelevel naturopathic medical school and is educated in all of the same basic sciences as a medical doctor (M.D.), with the difference that he or she also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to healing, with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. A naturopathic physician is board-certified by his or her state and is expected to uphold the highest standards of primary medical care. Currently, fourteen states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands license naturopathic physicians to practice primary care. When searching for a naturopathic physician in states that do not have licensing procedures, it is important to find out about his or her credentials. Make sure you are being treated by a properly trained physician who has attended a four-year, accredited, postgraduate naturopathic medical school. There are currently four such schools in the United States and one in Canada. For more information on finding a naturopathic physician in your area, you can contact the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians or Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors . Naturopathic medicine is successful at treating various acute and chronic diseases. It excels in treating chronic illness when allopathic medicine has nothing left to offer. In acute conditions, it often supports the body’s own natural healing mechanism. Some common conditions treated by naturopathic medicine include, but are not limited to, allergies, asthma, anxiety, depression, fatigue, digestive complaints, skin complaints, autoimmune diseases, thyroid problems, menstrual irregularities (including menopause symptoms), acute colds and flus, chronic infections, and cancer. Services offered at a naturopathic clinic vary depending on the physician but may include acute care; women’s medicine; I.V. therapy including chelation (an intravenous injection of ethylene-diaminetetra-acetic acid, EDTA, an amino acid that eliminates heavy metals and other elements from the body and that has been used to improve metabolic function and blood flow through blocked arteries); wellness; pediatrics; physical medicine and spinal manipulation; nutritional counseling; homeopathy; drainage (a specific form of cellular-level detoxification); and botanical medicine, with a focus on chronic disease and cancer support. Naturopathic medicine is no secret. As naturopathic physicians we seek to help the body begin to restore health and maintain homeostasis. We pay attention to all aspects of the patient’s body, mind, and spirit to ensure balance in all of these areas. Often, simple dietary recommendations or a few lifestyle changes begin to turn the body around. At other times we need to help the body direct itself in a certain way by supporting specific systems with vitamins, minerals, botanicals, homeopathy, or other natural medicines. The underlying principles of naturopathy that help so many individuals achieve optimal health are listed below:

First, do no harm.

Identify and treat the cause.

Impart the healing power of nature.

The doctor is teacher.

Always treat the whole person.

Emphasize prevention.

If everyone were to live by these principles, rates of illness and premature death would decrease significantly.


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