2000 BC: Here, eat this root...
1000 AD: That root is heathen. Say this prayer.
1850 AD: That prayer is superstition. Here drink this potion.
1940 AD: That potion is snake oil. Take this pill.
1985 AD: That pill is ineffective. Take this antibiotic.
2000 AD: That antibiotic is resistant. Here, eat this root!
2000 BC: Here, eat this root...
Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct system of primary health care. It's the art, science, philosophy and practice of diagnosing, treating and preventing both acute and chronic disease. Naturopathic medicinal interventions and techniques encompass the use of all modern traditional, scientific, and empirical methods. The application of our Philosophy and use of Therapeutic Tools is what sets us apart from our conventional colleagues.
Conventional medicine focuses on stopping things, using items like "anti"-biotics, "anti"-fungals, "anti"-inflammatories, anti-this, anti-that. These certainly have their place in medicine and garner merit for their contributions to medicine. By token, Naturopaths work with the body and is very "pro-body," not "anti-body." ND's utilize methods to allow the body to function on its own, such example is the use of "pro"-biotics.
How does a Naturopathic Doctor compare/contrast to a conventional Medical Doctor?
Let's start with the similarities: Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are recognized and licensed as primary care medical physicians in the state of Montana. Just like allopathic (aka conventional) doctors (MD's), ND's are trained to be the doctor first seen for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of acute and chronic ailments.
Like MD's, licensed NDs too have attended 4-year doctoral degree medical schools and are required to learn all necessary diagnostics and treatments, including prescription drugs and surgery. In addition, ND's learn all the complementary and alternative medicines (Tools of an ND) in conjunction to allopathic medicine. Thus, NDs know both sides of the conventional/alternative aisle, allowing ND's great flexibility to adjust treatment regimens according to their patients’ needs and preferences.
As primary care physicians, licensed ND's are allowed access to controlled substances and can prescribe drugs such as antibiotics, vaccinations, hormones, fungicides, etc., and perform minor surgery procedures such as wart, mole, cyst removal, stitches and tissue biopsies. An ND's training in the use and application of Naturopathic Philosophy and Natural Therapeutics (commonly termed "Alternative Medicine"), coupled with allopathic medicine and diagnostics, makes ND's some of the most highly qualified and sought out physicians around.
So what are the differences?
The most notable difference between and ND and an MD is in Naturopathic Philosophy. An ND recognizes and supports the body's own innate ability to mend itself. Naturopathic Medicine medicine is the way medicine was practiced for generations prior to the advent of antibiotics, which caused a paradigm shift away from innate healing towards thinking that healing requires the use of pharmaceutical intervention. Sometimes this is the case, but not always.
ND's are constantly making efforts to bridge the gap between conventional medicine and that which has been termed alternative or holistic medicine to better educate the public on the many therapeutic applications of medicine, and to ensure consistent and quality outcomes by utilizing a broad spectrum of Naturopathic Therapeutics.
ND's incorporate the same methods of diagnosis as an MD, but the manner which an ND treats their patients may be entirely different. There is of course a need for drugs and surgery (to which ND's will refer when those interventions are indicated medically), but oftentimes there are a host of other Treatment Modalities which can bring about significant healing, which can be done usually without significant side effects.
"Why should I choose naturopathic medicine as opposed to conventional medicine? "
Naturopathic medicine is a centuries-old ancient medical healing art which honors, recognizes, and supports the body's own innate ability to mend. Conventional thinking is that the body is weak and needs external intervention to prop it up.
Many women and men who seek us out have tried conventional medicine and have seen less than optimal results. They are either still getting symptoms or experiencing side effects and/or discontent over their options to resolve their health issues. For more info on Naturopathic medicine, click here.