Naturopathy is a scientific-based medicinal practice that promotes health and wellness by recognizing the distinctive aspects of every patient and employing all-natural and non-toxic therapies to bring back their physiological balance. And all forms of naturopathic treatment is handled by a specialist called a “Naturopath”.
What is a Naturopathic doctor and how can they contribute to the holistic health care of their patients? Read this article as we are going to learn more about the role of a naturopathic physician in providing all-natural health care.
Job Description Of A Naturopathic Doctor (ND)
Naturopathic doctors mainly provide a type of health care that blends the natural approach with conventional scientific medicinal practice in conducting diagnosis and treatment. And like traditional doctors, they also treat the cause of the illness and administer a kind of natural treatment to prevent the disease. Once the treatment is given, the naturopathic physician will also teach their patients how to achieve a healthy life the natural way.
A student must undergo a 4-year course in medical college before they can practice naturopathic medicine professionally. Their admission requirements are comparable to that of any conventional medical schools. They have to study biochemistry, cardiology, gynecology, immunology, neurology, pharmacology, pathology, and pediatrics to earn the Doctor’s degree of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) and may also be required to undergo preliminary training as well.
Moreover, naturopathic students must do an extensive project about Natural Therapeutics. And in this coursework, they are exposed to other fields of medical sciences such as botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, exercise therapy, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, lifestyle counseling, and physical medicine. They are also required to know the 6 key naturopathic medicine principles:
- Recognizing nature’s healing power – The human body has an innate ability to preserve and restore health. So naturopathic doctors must facilitate in making this healing process possible by eliminating any obstacles that will prevent cure and identify new treatment methods to develop healing.
- Proper identification and treatment of the cause of the illness – Naturopaths treat the main causes of the disease rather its symptoms because symptoms are indications of internal imbalance (mental, physical, emotional, or a combination of any). And while it is important to address the symptoms early, the cause of the disease should be taken care of first.
- Do no harm first – The naturopathic approach makes use of gentle, effective, non-invasive therapies that don’t have side effects. Likewise, there is a conscious effort made to ensure that these healing methods will not produce adverse symptoms.
- Doctor as teacher – Naturopathic medicine recognizes the fact that doctors are teachers because the word “doctor” came from the Latin word “docere” (to teach). So one of the primary roles of a naturopathic doctor is to educate, empower, and motivate patients to assume personal responsibility of their health by means of a healthy diet, attitude, and a positive outlook in life.
- Holistic Treatment – Naturopaths identify specific dysfunctions and weaknesses of every patient and customize an ideal treatment based on their patient’s individual representation. Every naturopathic physician recognizes the fact that the patient is in need of the treatment and not the disease or its symptoms. So they are interested in finding the characteristics that define the individual rather than focusing on the symptoms that define a disease.
- Prevention – Naturopathic doctors assess the information objectively and subjectively to potentially expose a patient’s susceptibility to future diseases. And once these facts are established, they will discuss certain strategies or recommend nutritional supplementation to prevent these diseases from manifesting.
Once they pass all the academic requirements, they are now considered as graduates of naturopathic medicine.
Naturopathic doctors are recognized by the medical community as licensed general practitioners who specialize in the field of natural medicine. And they also coordinate with other branches in the medical industry by referring patients to other doctors if needed for further diagnosis and treatment.
A naturopathic physician can employ certain medical tools and techniques to treat patients including physical medicine, lifestyle medicine, herbal therapies, and nutrition. Likewise, they are expected to perform these basics tasks in order to provide proper diagnosis and treatment to their patients:
- Interview the patients about their health history. This is a crucial step since NDs must get to know their patient’s physical state, mental state, emotional state, etc. to determine the cause of the disease.
- Documentation of the patient’s health history including the previous medical records, chief complaints, medical history of the family, and psychosocial characteristics.
- Educate the patients about the different medical therapies and nutritional regimens they are going to recommend based on the patient’s individual representation.
- Educate patients about proper health care management.
- Conduct physical examinations as well as physiological tests for diagnostic purposes.
- Diagnose a patient’s health condition based on the given health histories, symptoms, tests results, and other physiological measurements (electrocardiograms, electroencephalographs).
- Advise patients to undergo diagnostic imaging procedures (x-ray, ultrasound, mammogram, bone density test) or refer their patients to other medical practitioners for these procedures.
- Administer, prescribe, or dispense natural medicines, food, and supplements such as herbs, botanical extracts, vitamins, dietary supplements, amino acids, and nutraceuticals.
- Administer established treatment procedures such as hydrotherapy, homeopathy, Oriental medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, diathermy, electrotherapy, and making use of physical agents like water, sound, heat, cold, and UV rays to stimulate the body to naturally heal itself.
- Maintain a professional development by engaging in continuing education, postgraduate studies, residency programs, and preceptorships.
Overall the role of a naturopathic physician is to promote a natural way of healing. They are similar to traditional doctors in some ways because they make use of a systematic and scientific approach in providing all-natural health care, but the way the disease is being cured is done in a different way as modern doctors focus more on alleviating the symptoms of the disease while naturopaths tend to identify the root cause understanding their patient’s individual representation.
Moreover, naturopathic doctors prefer a holistic way of treating diseases and making sure that the body is free from any toxins that might contribute to more illnesses in the future. If you’re looking for a world-class naturopathic doctor in Phoenix, you can visit Southwest Integrative Medicine’s website.