What Is Naturopathic Medicine? - Video

Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) use natural, non-invasive alternative remedies to treat sickness and promote holistic wellness in their patients. Their treatments focus on improvements in diet and lifestyle and medicines such as herbal extracts and homeopathy. In the U.S., Naturopaths must attend a four-year, graduate-level naturopathic medical school that combines basic medical science with training in nutrition, homeopathy, acupuncture, botanical medicine and psychology.

Job Overview

Naturopathy is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on non-invasive natural remedies, such as herbal extracts, homeopathy and dietary supplements. Naturopaths typically take a holistic, preventative approach to treatment, guiding their patients to a healthier lifestyle that supports the body's own ability to heal. To use the title Naturopathic Doctor, or ND, in the U.S., Naturopaths must attend a four-year graduate-level naturopathic medical school after earning a bachelor degree. Their graduate education combines basic medical science with training in homeopathy, nutrition, acupuncture, botanical medicine and psychology.

Daily Duties & Environment

The most common ailments treated by Naturopaths are chronic conditions such as allergies, fertility problems, digestive issues, chronic pain or fatigue, obesity and hormonal imbalance. Although they don't practice major surgery, Naturopaths can perform minor surgeries such as stitching superficial wounds or removing cysts. They are also trained in the use of prescription drugs and their interactions with natural remedies.

A patient's first visit with a Naturopathic Doctor may take up to two hours. The Naturopath begins by taking a detailed health history, discussing key lifestyle issues such as stress, diet and the use of substances like alcohol and tobacco. He or she will then examine the patient, perform diagnostic tests and devise a customized treatment strategy. Follow-up visits typically take 30 to 60 minutes and are focused on helping the patient maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Most Naturopaths work in private practice and clinics but these medical practicioners can also be found in hospitals and community health centers.

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