What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct primary health care profession that combines the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science. Naturopathic physicians are trained as primary care providers who diagnose, treat and manage patients with acute and chronic conditions, while addressing disease and dysfunction at the level of body, mind and spirit.
— American Association of Naturopathic Physicians

Have you ever said to yourself, "I wish my doctor would spend more time with me and really listen to me" or "I wish my doctor would figure out what is really going on with me instead of just giving me medications for my symptoms" or "There has to be something natural I can do instead of this prescription"? Then you have secretly been wishing for a naturopathic doctor.

The goal of a naturopathic doctor is to look beyond your symptoms to figure out the underlying issue with your health concerns. Because if we can figure out the underlying problem and fix it, we can reverse your disease and heal your body. And then you can life a full and healthy life medication free and symptom free.

To do all that, naturopathic doctors adhere to the principles of naturopathic medicine to work with the body and restore health.

Principle of Naturopathic Medicine

First, Do No Harm

Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies. This means that instead of using medications as the first line therapy, we will work with the body using nutrition and other natural therapies. 

The Healing Power of Nature

Your body knows how to function. It doesn't need to be told or controlled. Sometimes, all the body needs is the proper building blocks to do its job. So instead of using medications that interfere with the body's normal function, we will use natural therapies to assist the body in correcting an imbalance in physiology.

Identify and Treat the Causes

Symptoms are just messengers from the body, telling us that there is a problem, but they are not the problem. They are the result of the problem. If we only focus on the symptoms, we will miss the real problem and your health will continue to decline. By addressing the underlying issue, we can truly heal the body.

Doctor as Teacher

The job of a doctor is not to make decisions about your health for you. The root word of doctor is the latin docere which means to teach. A doctor is a teacher, who should educate, inspire, and empower you when it comes to your health.

Treat the Whole Person

Naturopathic doctors view the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions. You are not a diagnosis. You are not a disease. You are a unique person that requires a unique treatment. 

Prevention

Lastly, we focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention. The current medical model is sick care. We wait until we are sick to address our health. Naturopathic medicine is a model of health care with tools and strategies to prevent disease and optimize health. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. 

How is working with an ND different than working with an MD?

There are similarities and differences between NDs and MDs. While we are both trained in the biological sciences (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, etc), how we approach health and disease is quite different.

NDs have a holistic focus. We evaluate your whole health to identify the root cause of your health concerns. This means that we spend way more time with you than most MDs. A typical first appointment with an ND is 1-2 hours long. This also means that we ask you a lot of questions. We ask questions about all your different organ systems and we ask questions about your work, stress, diet, exercise, and relationships. 

MDs, on the other hand, are trained to focus on one organ system at a time. That means their questions are related to your symptoms, your disease, and only organ system. And that also means the visit takes 10 minutes.

Both NDs and MDs will use physical exams to gather more information about your health.

Another difference is that NDs may order specialty labs. These labs may include assessing your hormones, neurotransmitters, inflammation, food sensitivities, gut health, and more. This is to target imbalances in your physiology that may be causing or contributing to your health condition. MDs tend to use labs to only establish the presence of disease and monitor the disease process, which doesn't necessarily reveal the underlying cause of your symptoms or disease.

And of course, NDs use vastly different treatment modalities. Treatment often involves specific dietary recommendations, nutrient and botanical prescriptions, stress management techniques, homeopathy, exercise therapy, and more. Some NDs will also prescribe medications when appropriate and when it is within their legal scope of practice.

Note: Only NDs who graduated from an accredited naturopathic medical school are licensed doctors who can diagnose and treat disease. People who participated in online naturopathy education or other unaccredited programs are not licensed doctors. They are coaches or consultants and cannot diagnose or treat disease.

Hi!

I'm Dr. Carly and my mission is to create a health revolution. I believe that another prescription is not the answer. I believe in using natural therapies that go beyond the symptoms. And I believe that doctors should spend way more than 7 minutes with a patient.