What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is based on centuries of empirical evidence combined with current research and conventional care. Naturopathic physicians use a holistic approach treating the individual’s physical, emotional, and mental health. Naturopathic doctors focus on identifying and removing the cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms. Naturopathic physicians often work collaboratively with MD’s and other health professionals in providing comprehensive quality health care.
Naturopathic Medicine in the United States is studied and practiced as a parallel path to Medical and Osteopathic medicine. Naturopathic doctors practice as primary care physicians in many states, and many of them also choose to specialize.
The main modalities employed by naturopaths are:
- Medicinal use of nutrition: therapeutic nutrition, nutritional supplementation, and intramuscular vitamin injections.
- Botanical medicine: botanical substances may be prescribed as teas, alcoholic tinctures, capsules, tablets, cremes, plasters, or suppositories.
- Physical Medicine: naturopathic osseous manipulation and soft tissue work, including Craniosacral Therapy and hydrotherapy.
- Homeopathic medicine: the use of highly dilute quantities of naturally occurring plants, animals and minerals to gently stimulate the body’s healing responses.
- Diet and lifestyle: diet therapy, promotion of wellness including recommendations for exercise, sleep, stress reduction and balancing of work and social activities.
- Common diagnostic procedures: e.g., venipuncture, Pap smears, radiography, laboratory, x-ray.
- Minor office procedures: e.g., dressing a wound, ear cleansing.
- Psychological Counseling
- Prescription medications
Naturopathic Doctors Oath
I dedicate myself to the service of humanity as a practitioner of the art and science of Naturopathic medicine.
I will honor my teachers and all who have preserved and developed this knowledge and dedicate myself to supporting the growth and evolution of Naturopathic medicine. I will endeavor to continually improve my abilities as a healer through study, reflection, and genuine concern for humanity. I will impart knowledge of the advanced healing arts to dedicated colleagues and students.
Through precept, lecture, and example, I will assist and encourage others to strengthen their health, reduce risks for disease, and preserve the health of our planet for ourselves, our families, and future generations.
According to my best ability and judgment, I will use methods of treatment which follow the principles of Naturopathic medicine:
- First of all, to do no harm.
- To act in cooperation with the Healing Power of Nature.
- To address the fundamental causes of disease.
- To heal the whole person through individualized treatment.
- To teach the principles of healthy living and preventive medicine.
I will conduct my life and the practice of Naturopathic health care with vigilance, integrity, and freedom from prejudice. I will abstain from voluntary acts of injustice and corruption. I will keep confidential whatever I am privileged to witness, whether professionally or privately, that should not be divulged.
With my whole heart, before this gathering of witnesses, as a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, I pledge to remain true to this oath.
Adopted at the AANP National Convention 1992. Learn more at www.naturopathic.org.
A Brief History of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic Medicine, as a profession in the United States, is nearly 150 years old. It grew out of the disillusionment of physicians and patients alike from the then toxic ways of using arsenic and mercury in the accepted medical model of the time. Dr. Benedict Lust (MD) brought the foundations of naturopathic medicine with him from Germany in 1896. He also founded the first Naturopathic school in New Jersey.
Today, Naturopathic medicine is taught at four different schools in the United States, and two schools in Canada. The program is a rigorous 4-year full time studies, paralleling the graduate studies of Medical Schools. In Washington State Naturopathic Physicians function as Family Physicians, as well as specialist and adjunct care in many different disciplines, from Pediatrics to Oncology.