What is naturopathic medicine?

Are you sick of going to the doctor, waiting in line, and being prescribed a cookie cutter pill? The way we address treatment for disorders is changing as the cost of healthcare is skyrocketing every year. While not everyone is familiar with the idea of using naturopathic medicine for long term healing, most wish that they had an easier and more natural way to treat themselves than taking a number of pills every day. Many patients actually prefer being treated with naturopathic medicine and holistic therapies instead of taking the conventional route.

Brought from Germany in the 1800s, naturopathic medicine is a field of holistic treatment and has an extremely successful track record of providing healing to thousands. It uses a sustainable system that uses all natural remedies to help the body heal itself without the use of traditional medicine. These days, many people dread the costs of medications, potentially catching more sickness at the doctor’s office, and the loads of health insurance that comes with treating a disease or disorder. Typically doctors in convenient care also aren’t attached to personally meet your needs, so you might not be receiving all the attention to detail you deserve. With naturopathic medicine, patients can embrace a variety of therapies including herbs, massage, acupuncture, exercise, and nutritional counseling as well. Let’s walk through the basics of the practice to see if it may be the right fit for your healing.

Art therapy is one of the methods of treatment used for naturopathic medicine.

Starting naturopathic medicine

The overall goal of the system is to treat the mind, body and spirit and address the root of the illness someone is struggling with. No more covering up symptoms, naturopathic medicine aims to combat the problem at its core. When you match with a naturopathic doctor, your first appointment may last 1 to 2 hours as they take time to examine you. The doctor will have a list of questions to ask you about your health history, your family background, any present stress levels, and your daily lifestyle habits. Naturopathic doctors recognize the importance of this initial step to discover facts about their patient and allow enough time and space necessary to share their story. Some patients struggle with sharing personal details at first, so the make sure to make them feel as comfortable as they can. The may also order lab test if you are someone who frequently drinks or took drugs for recreation during the illness. After the test results come back, the doctor will help you discuss your personal health plan.  As naturopathic medicine focuses on providing long term education and prevention, your personal health plan may encompass a new diet, weekly exercise ideas, or stress management tips. These serve as the basic building blocks of finding health again and healing your body with the natural aids it needs. To complement the foundation, a doctor would also recommend using herbal medicine, and acupuncture to release tension that is pent up in your body.

All naturopathic doctors are required to complete extensive education like other medical fields. Naturopathic practitioners are required to have a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree from a four-year graduate medical college, a graduate level study of medical sciences, and a track record of hard work and positive residential work before starting their own practice. Future doctors also must do coursework in natural therapeutics that include studying clinical nutrition, botanical medicines, homeopathy, exercise therapy, art or aromatherapy, lifestyle counseling, and even hydrotherapy. All of these therapy methods leverage the power of nature and our personal energy to kickstart internal healing in the body.

Naturopathic Care

During care, naturopathic medicine focuses on a few key principles. The first is focusing on managing symptoms, as they’re an external sign of internal imbalances from body or mind imbalances. Symptom management takes practice and mindfulness as someone navigates long term healing. Naturopathic medicine also focuses on using methods that are as gentle as possible. Naturopathic treatment plans uses therapies that are gentle, non-invasive, all natural and do not cause harmful side effects.

Traditional medicine can cause side effects and withdrawal that intensifies the original problem that a patient dealt with in the first place. Another difference is that a naturopathic doctor acts as more of counselor or teacher than a prescription dealer. A good doctor in the practice will take a long time understand the context of a patient’s illness, their fears, and their long term goals. The physician takes time to understand their framework and uses good communication to develop rapport with the patient. Most patients know what is wrong but needs help with translating their goals to a step by step action plan.  The naturopathic doctor can transform the patient’s story and help them develop daily, weekly, and milestone tasks to serve what their priorities are.  As the patient goes through their healing process, the doctor is present to help them answer any questions and battle doubts that may come up on tougher days.

Finding Naturopathic Medicine

Finding the right doctor for you can seem daunting, but look up your local healthcare systems and holistic sites to find one. Most communities have a practitioner at this point that serves patients of all ages. Since naturopathic medicine is personalized medicine that does not always follow a strict adherence to treatments we usually hear of, make sure you do your research on who is reliable and accredited.  The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians is a great online resource to research that is considered professional naturopathic physicians. They maintain a constantly updated national database of naturopathic physicians for patients to look up for free. You could even go the extra mile and get in touch with local health clubs, organic or natural food stores, and supplement stores that have potential partnerships with naturopathic practitioners in the community. You never know what you’ll find if you don’t head out the door to look!


Naturopathic medicine is gentle and natural.




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