Naturopathic medicine is
a distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing process. The practice of naturopathic medicine includes modern and traditional, scientific, and empirical methods. By using protocols that minimize the risk of harm, naturopathic physicians help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health. It is the naturopathic physician’s role to identify and remove barriers to good health by helping to create a healing internal and external environment.
A licensed naturopathic physician (ND) attends a four-year, graduate-level naturopathic medical school and is educated in all of the same basic sciences as an MD, but also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician also studies clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, 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.
The core principles followed by naturopathic physicians include the following:
The Healing Power of Nature: Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in people that is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this inherent self-healing process.
Identify and Treat the Causes: The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
First Do No Harm: The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
Doctor as Teacher: Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
Treat the Whole Person: Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.
Prevention: Naturopathic physicians emphasize the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and by making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness.
This information can be found and is taken from the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. To learn more about the education, philosophy, practice and regulation of naturopathic physicians, click here.
Disclaimer: Naturopathic physicians are regulated in 20 states, five Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia, and the US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Many naturopathic physicians located in unregulated states choose to hold a license in a state that does regulate naturopathic physicians showing that they have graduated from an accredited naturopathic medicine program, have passed all board exams and complete the required annual continuing education. Dr. Hatcher holds a license in the state of Kansas. Naturopathic physicians are not regulated in the state of North Carolina. Any information found on this website is intended for educational purposes only and is not medical advice. Dr. Hatcher does not treat or cure medical conditions. You should always consult with your licensed healthcare provider before starting any nutritional or lifestyle programs.