Explanation of Naturopathic Medicine as Alternative Healthcare

Naturopathic Medicine – “Aims to Treat the Whole Person,
Not Just the Disease”

Naturopathic medicine is considered an alternative or complementary form of medicine and is recognized and practiced
throughout the United States.

Several states have laws governing the licensure of Naturopathic physicians. Naturopathic doctors or physicians
have the designation of ND after their name, which stands for “Naturopathic Doctor”.

Commonly, you will see some people using the terminology “naturopath”, but unless they have graduated
from one of the four naturopathic medical schools in the US and one in Canada, then they are not considered licensed
Naturopathic Doctors.

These five naturopathic medical schools are: National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon; Bastyr
University in Seattle, Washington; Bridgeport University in Connecticut; Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
in Phoenix, Arizona; and Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Canada.

The education for NDs is rigorous and extensive, comprising of four to five intensive years of naturopathic medical
training at the graduate level, eventually leading to a doctorate degree in Naturopathic Medicine.

The initial year consists of classes in anatomy and physiology, histology, biochemistry, cytology and other basic
sciences. In the second year, the students are introduced to clinical and physical diagnosis, laboratory technology,
microbiology, cytology and other clinical subjects. The third and fourth years are devoted to dermatology, cardiology,
gynecology, obstetrics, endocrinology, and other –ology subjects, at the same time as alternative subjects,
such as nutrition, homeopathy, herbology, manipulation, physio-therapy, history of naturopathic medicine and naturopathic

Naturopathic medicine endeavors to treat the whole person and not just the disease through natural, supportive methods
which increase or strengthen the body’s own defense systems and mechanisms. Common substances which a naturopathic
physician may prescribe could include vitamins and mineral supplementation, herbs, botanicals, or plant substances,
functional foods in the diet, nutritional balancing, homeopathic remedies, nutraceuticals, exercise, physical therapy,
rest and relaxation, and natural antibiotics and natural hormones.

Oft times, it may take discipline, time, and patience for the body to heal naturally assisted by these safe, gentle,
effective means and medicines. This approach to healing encompasses the entire mind-body, emotions, and spiritual
side of the human organism. In order for the healing to be effective and long-lasting, healing should occur on all of
these levels.

Naturopathic physicians are trained to listen carefully to the patient, to spend ample time with each person, and
to find the root cause of the problem, not to just palliate or treat the symptoms. Without finding the cause, then
the problem will keep reoccurring and a solution will not be affected.

By Dr. Leia Melead

More information on this can be found in our free online health magazine.