Naturopathy and the Primary Care Practice

 

Sara A. Fleming, NDa and Nancy C. Gutknecht, NDb

 

 

Synopsis

 

Naturopathy is a distinct type of primary care medicine that blends age-old healing traditions with scientific advances and current research. It is guided by a unique set of principles that recognize the body's innate healing capacity, emphasize disease prevention, and encourage individual responsibility to obtain optimal health. Naturopathic treatment modalities include diet and clinical nutrition, behavioral change, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, botanical medicine, physical medicine, pharmaceuticals, and minor surgery. Naturopathic physicians (NDs) are trained as primary care physicians in four-year, accredited doctoral-level naturopathic medical schools. Currently, there are 15 U.S. states, 2 U.S. territories, and a number of provinces in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand that recognize licensure for NDs.

 

Naturopathic Medicine Overview

Naturopathy is a distinct type of primary care medicine that blends age-old healing traditions with scientific advances and current research. It is guided by a unique set of principles that recognize the body's innate healing capacity, emphasize disease prevention, and encourage individual responsibility to obtain optimal health (List 1). The naturopathic physician (ND) strives to thoroughly understand each patient's condition, and views symptoms as the body's means of communicating an underlying imbalance. Treatments address the patient's underlying condition, rather than individual presenting symptoms. Modalities utilized by NDs include diet and clinical nutrition, behavioral change, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, botanical medicine, physical medicine, pharmaceuticals, and minor surgery1, 2. Naturopathy can be traced back to the European “nature cure,” practiced in the nineteenth-century, which was a system for treating disease with natural modalities such as water, fresh air, diet, and herbs. In the early twentieth-century, naturopathy developed in the U.S. and Canada, combining nature cure, homeopathy, spinal manipulation and other therapies (Timeline)3.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2883816/

 

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