A Licensed naturopathic doctor (ND or NMD) attends an accredited four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school. The naturopathic physician is required to simultaneously complete a standard medical curriculum along with training in clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, physical medicine, and counseling. A naturopathic physician takes rigorous professional board exams so that he or she may be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care, general practice physician. In AZ, naturopathic physicians are fully licensed primary care physicians. In NC licensing legislation has been blocked so that we practice as consultants.
A Naturopathic physician skillfully intertwines what has become two distinct systems- western mainstream and alternative healthcare- into one complete system of treatment. We practice as ‘doctors’, which simply means ‘teacher’, educating you about your healthcare options, demystifying medicine and empowering you to achieve your health goals.
We utilize mainstream Western medicine (a thorough history, physical exam, lab work, imaging studies, and writing prescriptions when necessary) as well as alternative Western medicine (traditional nature-cure, clinical nutrition, spinal manipulation, botanical medicine, mind-body techniques, counseling, homeopathy) to provide the best individualized medical care.
What distinguishes Naturopathic physicians from our mainstream medical colleagues is our philosophy, not the therapies we use.
First, we treat individuals, not their diagnosis. You are the focus of the treatment plan; your diagnosis is merely a description of a process you are engaging in. Frankly, your diagnosis has probably been receiving far too much attention already and we want to put the focus back on you!
Second, we treat holistically. The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual parts of us are absolutely integrated. You cannot separate them. We are also a part of our environment, family, friends, job, etc., all of which have an impact on the balance of our health. Naturopathic physicians look at all the things that are compromising your health and look to restore balance in all those areas. You’ll find we ask a wide variety of questions, not only about what is happening in your body but in all aspects of your life.
Third, we treat the underlying imbalances. We don’t want to just stop symptoms but rather address the underlying causes of those symptoms. Your diagnosis is not the cause of your symptoms; it is a description of them. The search begins at the diagnosis; it doesn’t end there.
Fourth, we look to support the natural healing process. If there is something obstructing or blocking the process, we help you remove the obstacle and if there is a deficiency that is preventing the healing process, we help you nourish that deficiency. Through your body’s own innate wisdom the healing will happen, if it is given the opportunity.
Fifth, our objective is not to restore you to the level of health you had before your illness/injury. If you return to the state prior to the illness, you are still susceptible to the illness/injury! We will help you learn what needs to happen to prevent a reoccurrence.
Sixth, our role is not necessarily to heal. Rather, we are teachers of health and guides in the path back to wellness. Your own body is the healer. Our modalities provide your body with important information and resources it needs to heal, but even they are not the healers, you are.