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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lee Aberle, ND, IFMCP

It's official.

Most people finding us are looking for more information on Naturopathic Medicine in their google searches. It used to be Functional Medicine, but as more people learn about what makes naturopathic medicine special they are looking to learn why it's so effective.

So I asked our new Doctor, Liza Aberle to talk to me about her thoughts on Naturopathy and this article is a summation or our chat.

Dr. Lee

Why do patients prefer naturopathic medicine?

"You're what kind of doctor?"

Usually patients end up at naturopathic doctors after they've exhausted other options including so called "conventional medicine." Only after trying everything else out and finally doing their own research do most patients discover the potential and surprisingly long history of natural medicine. Most people have never heard about naturopathic medicine and find it hard to believe that such a remarkable form of medicine has been around for over 100 years.


Naturopathic medicine is a growing field in medicine, especially in Minnesota, that seeks to understand the cause of illness, using conventional science and traditional medicine. What makes naturopaths different is their approach to the patient. We look at the whole person experiencing the illness, across their entire lifetime, within the body, mind, and environment. And for treatment, naturopaths use therapies that build the body's ability to heal itself while also directly addressing symptoms. In short, in addition to asking what is going on, which all good doctors do, we also ask why it is going on. And not every doctor does. What makes NDs different is that we are trained to look for the root cause (s) from the first moment of our training. As someone who has trained MD's in how to approach Naturopathic and Functional Medicine in their practices, I can tell you that this is NOT what is taught in most medical schools.


Naturopathic Doctors licensed as ND or NMD are trained in both conventional and alternative medicine to offer primary care and a large variety of specialty medicine. Accredited naturopathic medical schools spend 4-6 years in a rigorous basic and clinical science, and do extensive training in specialties. Naturopathic education emphasizes physiology and biochemistry more than any other form of medicine, allowing the naturopath to solve complex problems that uniquely present in each patient.

Naturopathic Doctors look to modern science to inform their clinical decisions, and use the safest and most effective methods to produce a cure, first using natural methods like herbal medicine, nutrition, physical medicine, and homeopathy. Then in licensed states naturopathic doctors or physicians prescribe drugs and are trained to refer patients within the medical system.

Unfortunately Minnesota is behind the times and prescriptions are still outside our scope of practice despite being trained and updated yearly in pharmaceuticals. It's something we are working on with the State legislature. If you want to help out, call you legislator in the State House and Senate and let them know this is important to you. You voice matters.


Naturopathic visits may last from 30 to 120 minutes, with most of that time spent in direct contact with the doctor. It is important for the doctor to spend the time to listen to each patient in order to uncover what makes them unique - and then educate that unique individual in healthy lifestyle choices for them.

This means that patients walk away from each visit with the satisfaction of being heard. Patients develop deep relationships with their naturopathic doctor that last over their entire lifetime.


For thousands of years natural medicines have been used for specific ailments, and this lineage continues today. Many pharmaceutical medications are predicated upon the active constituents of natural substances, some of which are mentioned in this article entitled, “A Historical Overview of Natural Products in Drug Discovery” (click link to visit article page in a new window).


Patients choose Naturopathic Doctors who provide authentic connection and support, which is essential for healing chronic illness. Listen to Dr. Leesa Wen (MD) explain the importance of transparency and connection to overcome the “sickness of fear” in this ted talk:

Dr. Liza and myself are happy to answer any of your questions. Just call 320 253-4112 and ask for a Talk to the Doc appointment. And remember, if one of our patients refers you, you get a discount on your first appointment.

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