Naturopathic medicine is a system of medicine founded on an honored medical principle: nature heals -The body has the inherent ability to establish, maintain and restore health. The naturopathic physician’s role is to facilitate and support this process. As a licensed naturopathic physician (ND) I attended a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school and I am educated in all of the same basic sciences as a traditional MD, i.e. anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, and microbiology, but in addition, I have studied holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, I also completed four years of training in clinical nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and counseling (to encourage people to make lifestyle changes in support of their personal health). Oregon licensing requirements for continuing education to maintain an active license consist of 35 hours annually, 10 of which need to be in the subject of pharmacology. As a naturopathic physician, I have taken rigorous professional board exams so that I may be licensed by the state of Oregon as a primary care general practice physician.
In practice, naturopathic physicians use standard diagnostic procedures such as diagnostic imaging, physical examinations, laboratory testing, gynecological exams and metabolic analysis. In additions, ND’s are the only licensed primary care physicians clinically trained to use a wide variety of natural therapeutics that are tailored to meet the individual needs of each patient.
Natural therapies often prescribed include:
Clinical Nutrition: Food as the best medicine is a cornerstone of naturopathic practice. Many medical conditions can be treated more effectively with dietary changes, nutritional supplements and with fewer complications and side effects than they can by other means. ND’s use diet, natural hygiene, fasting and nutritional supplementation in practice.
Botanical Medicine: Many plant substances are powerful medicine with some advantages over conventional drugs. They are effective and safe when used properly, in the right dose and in proper combination with other herbs and treatments. Their organic nature makes botanicals compatible with the body’s own chemistry; they can be gentle and effective with a few toxic side effects.
Homeopathic Medicine: In contrast to drugs, homeopathic medicine is based on the principle of “like cures like” This powerful system of medicine is more than 2000 years old and is widely accepted in other countries. Homeopathic medicine acts to strengthen the body’s innate immune responses and seldom has side effects.
Physical Medicine: A variety of treatments are used to help stimulate the healing process of muscle tissue and the immune system. This may include acupuncture, along with gentle forms of manipulation, the specific use of heat and cold, massage, Bowen therapy and therapeutic exercise. All of these treatments are designed to be non-invasive and gentle.
Counseling: Attitudes and emotional states are important elements in the healing and prevention of disease. I have been trained to listen and help guide patients toward healing on the mental, emotional and physical levels.