Conditions Benefited by
medicine can be applied in any health care situation, but its strongest area is in the treatment of chronic and degenerative
disease. Naturopaths are, for the most part, licensed primary
care/general practice family physicians. For severe, acute
traumas such as a serious automobile accident, emergencies of
childbirth, or orthopedic problems requiring corrective surgery,
naturopathic medicine is not recommended, although it can contribute
to such cases, especially in the recovery phase.
cases, such as ear infections and common illnesses with fever, the
naturopathic physician addresses the associated pain, infection, and fever of the condition, as well as any related concerns of the
patient. How this acute condition might relate to underlying
causes, such as diet, life stresses, and occupational hazards, is also addressed. The physician will then usually prescribe a variety of means to deal with the immediate problem.
chronic cases, the procedure is different. Typically, a thorough case exploration will detail the history and nature of the
patient's symptoms and complaints, his or her complete health
history, and the patient's lifestyle. Finally, a physical
examination and appropriate laboratory tests are performed.
For naturopathic physicians, understanding the patient as an
individual is essential when searching for causative factors,
particularly in the areas of the physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual.
After determining causative factors, the physician
will discuss his or her findings with the patient, and an attempt
will be made to tie together and interpret the symptoms.
Symptoms usually relate to a central problem that has many
manifestations. As an example, many symptoms can be tied to
the effects of toxemia on the different symptoms of the body such as the immune system, nervous system or circulatory system.
Others may be due to emotional factors, such as a chronic urinary
tract infection when there is a history of sexual
Finally, dietary factors are determined and appropriate changes are recommended. Any other perceived causes are addressed with either counseling, exercise, or other
methods of treatment.
Person, Not the Disease
Naturopathic medicine does not focus on disease symptoms,
but, rather, underlying causes. For
example, the body has four major organs that assist in elimination;
the lungs, kidneys, bowels, and skin. Most skin diseases are
viewed by naturopathic physicians to be the result of excessive
metabolic toxicity in the body, forcing the skin to be used as an
extra route of elimination. The skin excretes both
water-soluble and oil-soluble wastes through the sweat and oil
glands. Because the elimination of toxins is irritating to the
skin, the result is often various forms of skin-related disorders such as dermatitis and acne.
What Is a Naturopathic Physician Trained to
Modern naturopathic doctors provide
complete diagnostic and therapeutic services. As family
doctors, many practice natural childbirth (usually in the home
setting), pediatrics, gynecology, and geriatrics. Naturopathic
physicians make recommendations on lifestyle, diet, and exercise,
and utilize a variety of natural and noninvasive healing
The current scope of treatments naturopathic
physicians are trained in include: clinical nutrition; botanical or
herbal medicine; homeopathy; acupuncture; hydrotherapy; physical
medicine including massage and therapeutic manipulation; counseling
and other psychotherapies; and minor