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The Benefits of Naturopathic Medicine: Utilizing Holistic and Natural Therapies to Promote Wellness December 10, 2010

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine.
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According to a 2001 Harvard Medical School survey, sixty-eight percent of adults have looked to at least one form of alternative or complementary therapy. The use of naturopathic medicine is increasing and patients suffering from a variety of ailments use this type of alternative care. From diabetes to cancer, several types of diseases and conditions are currently being treated with naturopathic medicine.

What is naturopathic medicine? Where is naturopathic medicine studied?

Naturopathic medicine utilizes a combination of non-toxic therapies such as herbal cures and methodologies like acupuncture and massage to treat patients. In order to enhance the body’s overall ability to prevent and combat disease, naturopathic doctors also incorporate the use of diet and nutrition, exercise, and innovative natural therapies to better the well-being of each patient. Students who wish to graduate with a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree and practice naturopathic medicine have a total of seven accredited naturopathic colleges in North America from which they can choose to study. These naturopathic colleges in the United States are found in Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Connecticut, and Illinois. There are two colleges of natural health in Canada, and they are found in British Columbia and Ontario. Each alternative medicine school is accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education, an organization recognized by the United States Department of Education. Naturopathic medicine graduates who go on to be doctors adhere to six fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine that are similar to the Hippocratic Oath traditional medical doctors follow.

These are the naturopathic medicine principles:

(Principles and their explanation taken from the website of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges- http://www.aanmc.org/naturopathic-medicine/the-6-principles.php and the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians- http://www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?contentid=59):

1. The Healing Power of Nature: Trust in the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself. Naturopathic doctors work to nurture the process of self-healing.

2. Identify and Treat the Causes: Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause. If the root problem is not addressed, the patient’s symptoms will inevitably return. Instead of covering up symptoms, naturopathic doctors work to find and treat the cause of the symptoms.

3. First, Do No Harm: Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies. Naturopathic doctors try to use low-risk procedures and customize an overall wellness plan for each patient.

4. Doctor as Teacher-Educate Patients: Educate patients in the steps to achieving and maintaining health. Naturopathic doctors encourage self-responsibility yet they will work closely with each patient to teach them how to live the healthiest lifestyle possible by addressing nutrition and diet habits, exercise habits, and other physical and emotional nurturing habits.

5. Treat the Whole Person: View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions. Each person is unique in their physical, genetic, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual makeup.

6. Prevention: Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention. By evaluating health risk factors, heredity, and vulnerability to certain diseases, a naturopathic doctor can help pinpoint the correct treatment for each individual patient.

About the Author

Located in Tempe, Ariz., and founded in 1993, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences is a non-profit, accredited higher learning institution. It offers a 4 year medical program that trains students to become primary care physicians. Visit http://www.scnm.edu for more info.

By: Anthony Williams

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