Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care -an art, science, philosophy, and practice of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of illness. Naturopathic medicine is distinguished by the principles which underlie and determine its practice. These principles are based upon the objective observation of the nature of health and disease and are continually reexamined in the light of scientific advances. Methods used are consistent with these principles and are chosen upon the basis of patient individuality. Naturopathic physicians are trained as primary health care physicians whose diverse techniques include modern and traditional, scientific and empirical methods.
Training to become a Naturopathic Doctor
Naturopathic Doctors attend four years of post-graduate doctoral medical training at an accredited naturopathic medical school where they are trained as primary care physicians integrating traditional healing methods with modern scientific medicine. The training involves four years of courses with two years of supervised clinical rotations toward becoming a primary care physician. The curriculum involves the basic sciences and clinical courses similar to most major medical schools with additional training in diet and nutrient therapies, botanical medicine, osseous and soft tissue manipulation, hydrotherapy, counseling, and homeopathy.
What the difference between Naturopathic Doctors and MDs?
In my opinion, the main difference is that ND's focus more time on patient care. In the United States, consultation time for conventional doctor's appointments averages perhaps 20 minutes. IN contrast, NDs spend between 1 and 2 hours face-to-face with patients n an initial appointment and 30 to 60 minutes in subsequent appointments. There are approximately 6000 NDs practicing in North America.
One other difference is our education. While very similar, there are some key differences, especially in botanical medicine and lifestyle modification. NDs are unique among medical practitioners in their depth of knowledge about diet and nutrition as it applies to specific patient care. For more information see this link.
So are you a homeopath or what?
There is a great deal of terminology used to describe Naturopathic Medicine, but they don’t all mean the same thing, and the majority of them shouldn’t be used interchangeably, but, unfortunately often are. For more information click here for some brief descriptions of the different words used when trying to describe a Naturopathic Physician and Naturopathic Medicine