So you want to be a Doctor of Naturopathy? Or do you want to be a true Naturopath? Yes, there are two distinct paths when it comes to natural medicine. You can get a Doctor of Naturopathy degree from an accredited school after which you become a primary care physician. You can then prescribe drugs and perform minor surgery.
Or you can go the route of the true Naturopath and learn Clinical Nutrition, Homeopathy, Herbology, Hydrotherapy, Physical Medicine (which may include Massage Therapy and Reflexology), and Counseling.
The “formal” education in Naturopathic Medicine includes prescribing pharmaceuticals. The true Naturopath educates the person on healing herbs and the benefits of a balanced, nutritious diet.
The Naturopathic Doctor performs minor surgery. The true Naturopath shuns any invasive procedure.
The Naturopathic Doctor diagnoses and treats disease. The true Naturopath works with the person in order to prevent disease.
The Naturopathic Doctor goes to school primarily to become a mainstream physician. The true Naturopath only wants the best for the person – the best food, the best water, the best natural remedies, and the best lifestyle.
The Naturopathic Doctor is not recognized by the American Medical Association. The true Naturopath could care less. She follows her own philosophy that encompasses a holistic approach to medical care, care that focuses on cleansing and strengthening the body so it can heal itself.
No matter which path you take, the basic philosophy remains the same. Naturopathy takes a distinctly natural approach to health and disease. It emphasizes treatment that stimulates, boosts, and supports the innate healing capacity of the human body.
Naturopathy is based on the philosophy first used in the Hippocratic School of Medicine from around 400 B.C., when they used the term “Vis Medicatrix Naturae,” which is Latin for “the Healing Power of Nature.” They noted the body’s ability to create, sustain and restore health. The Naturopath identifies and removes obstacles to health and helps the patient build the right environment to support good health.
The Naturopath realizes you must get to the root of the illness to cure the illness. If you don’t know what causes a disease, you can not cure the disease. Symptoms are messages from the body leading the Naturopath to the root of the illness. Therefore symptoms must not be covered up by medication until a diagnosis is made.
Naturopathy follows the edict, “First do no harm.” Treatment must support the healing process, not work against it. Any drug or treatment that suppresses symptoms without first diagnosing and treating the disease is considered harmful and must be avoided or reduced as much as possible.
The Naturopath believes in the holistic approach to health. The person as a whole, mind, body, and spirit, as well as his living environment is taken into consideration when treatment is administered. This requires an individualized and unique treatment plan for every patient.
In order to create an individual plan for each patient, the Naturopath must have a personal relationship with each patient. The patient informs the Naturopath of his daily life, eating and sleeping habits, stress level, etc. The Naturopath educates the patient on proper diet, stress management, and any other treatment that suits his individual needs. Ultimately it is the patient who heals himself, or rather the body heals itself.
The ultimate goal of the Naturopath is the prevention of illness. Through education, the Naturopath hopes diet, herbal supplements, proper exercise, and a healthy living environment can prevent disease from occurring in the first place.
By boosting the immune system, the body can become a fortress against invading diseases, viruses, and bacteria. In the end patients may be knocking on the true Naturopath’s door instead of the Doctor’s door when prescription drugs, vaccines, and surgery prove they do not hold the answer for today’s superbugs, bird flu, anthrax, or whatever horror is next to hit the unsuspecting public.
Keep that in mind the next time the FDA recalls the prescription drug you’ve been taking for months because it destroys liver function in certain individuals. There just might be a natural solution to your health problem that poses no side effects. Just something to keep in mind.