Integrative and Naturopathic Wellness Medicine
Naturopathic Medicine is the philosophy of treating disease and restoring health using natural therapies. It strongly promotes prevention in health care and a non-invasive approach to treatment including acupuncture and oriental medicine, homeopathy, botanical medicine, nutritional counseling, mind-body medicine, hydrotherapy and physical medicine.
The six principles that guide the therapeutic methods and modalities of Naturopathic Medicine include:
First Do No Harm – primum non nocere
Naturopathic Medicine uses therapies that are safe and effective.
The Healing Power of Nature – vis medicatrix naturae
The human body possesses the inherent ability to restore health. The physician’s role is to facilitate this process with the aid of natural, nontoxic therapies.
Discover and Treat the Cause, Not Just the Effect – tolle causam
Physicians seek and treat the underlying cause of a disease. Symptoms are viewed as expressions of the body’s natural attempt to heal. The origin of disease is removed or treated so the patient can recover.
Treat the Whole Person – tolle totum
The multiple factors in health and disease are considered while treating the whole person. Physicians provide flexible treatment programs to meet individual health care needs.
The Physician is a Teacher – docere
The physician’s major role is to educate, empower, and motivate patients to take responsibility for their own health. Creating a healthy cooperative relationship with the patient has a strong therapeutic value.
Prevention is the best “cure”
Naturopathic Medical Doctors are preventive medicine specialists. Physicians assess patient risk factors and heredity susceptibility and intervene appropriately to reduce risk and prevent illness. Prevention of disease is best accomplished through education and a lifestyle that supports health
Naturopathic Medical Doctors (NMDs) are primary care physicians clinically trained in natural therapeutics and whose philosophy is derived in part from a Hippocratic teaching more than 2000 years old: Vis mediatrix naturae—nature is the healer of all diseases. Their practice is based on the same basic bio-medical science foundation that allopathic practice is; however, their philosophies and approaches differ considerably from their conventional counterparts. Naturopathic physicians diagnose disease and treat patients by using natural modalities such as physical manipulation, clinical nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, counseling, acupuncture, and hydrotherapy, among others. They choose treatment based on the individual patient, not based on the generality of symptoms. This approach has proven successful in treating both chronic and acute conditions.
Naturopathic Medical Doctors undergo training similar to medical and osteopathic doctors. Naturopathic medical colleges are four-year postgraduate schools with rigorous admissions requirements comparable to other medical schools. The Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (NMD) degree is awarded after classroom, clinic, and practical study. NMD’s are trained in medical sciences including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, cardiology, neurology, radiology, minor surgery, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, psychology, dermatology, and clinical and physical diagnosis. Specialized naturopathic techniques can include therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, natural childbirth, acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine, hydrotherapy, manipulative therapy, and counseling.
How Is Naturopathic Medicine Different From Conventional Medicine?
The primary differences between naturopathic and conventional medicine are the philosophical approach and the therapies used. Naturopathic Medical Doctors (NMDs) treat patients as individuals by addressing the environmental, lifestyle, attitudinal, and emotional aspects of health. This allows Naturopathic Medical Doctors to find and treat the cause of the disease using natural, non-invasive therapies. In contrast, conventional physicians generally address and treat the symptoms of disease, rather than the source of the illness, and use pharmaceutical therapies or surgery.
How Are Naturopathic and Conventional Physicians Alike?
Naturopathic and allopathic (conventional) medical doctors are both required to study the biomedical sciences at a four-year accredited graduate medical school. Included in this rigorous curriculum are biomedical sciences such as anatomy, physiology, neurology, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, cardiology, minor surgery, and others. Both kinds of physicians can diagnose a disease, predict its course, and prescribe treatment.
What Treatments Do Naturopathic Medical Doctors Use?
Through evaluation of the whole person, Naturopathic Medical Doctors treat each patient individually using naturopathic treatments, which may include nutritional counseling, physical manipulation, botanical medicine, homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine including acupuncture, minor surgery, limited drug therapy, and other modalities. While they may choose to prescribe these drugs over using natural therapies in certain situations and make referrals when a patient needs treatment outside the scope of naturopathic practice, the scope of alternatives available to them renders this an unusual circumstance.
How Are Naturopathic Medical Doctors Educated?
After completing a standard premedical undergraduate curriculum, aspiring Naturopathic Medical Doctors enter into a four-year medical program. The first two years of naturopathic medical school consist of education in the basic biomedical sciences similar to that of conventional medical school. The second two years emphasize clinical education in natural therapeutics. Upon successful completion of the four-year program, graduates receive the degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (NMD).
Are Naturopathic Medical Programs Accredited?
Yes. The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) is the only accrediting body for naturopathic medical schools recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The CNME has accredited three naturopathic medical programs in the U.S., including that of Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, and one in Canada. Students enrolled in these schools are eligible for federal financial aid. Upon successful completion of any of these programs, a naturopathic physician is eligible to take state or national board examinations to obtain licensure.
What about Correspondence Education?
None of the CNME accredited institutions offer any portion of the ND degree via correspondence, and graduates of non-accredited institutions are not eligible to sit for the national board exams in naturopathic medicine.
Call Milwaukee Naturopathic Doctor, Michele Nickels, N.D. with Integrative Family Wellness Center at 800-775-4902 Ext. 281 to schedule your consultation, discuss your symptoms and decide on a course of treatment for your specific needs.