Naturopathic doctors believe that disease is created from the body being out of balance. A variety of factors can compromise the balance of the body. Some examples could include environmental toxins disrupting the system, poor nutrition, or even spiritual and emotional imbalances. Naturopathic doctors believe once the body is brought back to balance it is able to heal itself.
There are currently five accredited naturopathic medical schools in the United States. Naturopathic doctors will attend one of these schools. In addition to the basic science classes that conventional medical schools have, naturopathic medical students also attend classes in nutrition, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, botanical medicine, physical medicine, and other complementary modalities.
Naturopathic physicians have 6 basic principles:
1. Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae): This is the fundamental belief of naturopathic medicine. The naturopathic doctor should serve to guide the body back to balance and encourage the body's ability to heal itself.
2. Doctor as Teacher (Docere): The word doctor is derived from the latin word docere which means "to teach." Naturopathic doctors believe that everyone should be responsible for their own health. Naturopathic doctors teach their patients about how certain treatments, lifestyle choices, and disease processes can effect one's health in order for help the person take over their own health.
3. Prevent disease before it occur: Naturopathic doctors emphasize the importance of preventing diseases before they occur rather than waiting to get a disease and then treat it.
4. Heal the Whole Person (Physical, Mental, Spiritual): Naturopathic doctors believe that every aspect of the person's being is important to that person's health whether it be mind, body, or spirit.
5. Identify and Treat the Cause of Disease: Naturopathic doctors believe it is important to find the root cause of the disease to truly eradicate the disease rather than simply treating the symptoms of the disease.
6. First Do No Harm: Naturopathic doctor use a "therapeutic order" as an approach to treating a person in order to use the least harmful/invasive forms of treatment to start with and using more invasive techniques only if necessary.
The following states license Naturopathic Doctors:
District of Columbia
United States Territories: Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands
Naturopathic doctors offer consultation services in some states not included on this list but are unable to practice to their full degree of training.
Here is a list of classes taken during Naturopathic Medical School: Semester 1: Embryology Anatomy Anatomy Lab Histology History of Naturopathic Medicine Physician Heal Thyself Research Methods/Statistics Philosophy of Naturopathic Medicine Physiology Biochemistry
Semester2: Anatomy Anatomy Lab Microbiology Biochemistry Physiology Neuroscience Living Anatomy/Palpation Hydrotherapy Introduction to Naturopathic Therapeutics Skills of Communication
Semester 3: Botanical Medicine Pathology Clinical Diagnosis Physical Exam Lab Diagnosis Public Health/Epidemiology Immunology Nutrition Medical Genetics Oriental Medicine Physiologic Therapeutics
Semester 7: Clinical Education Pharmacology EENT Neurology Urology/Proctology Practice Management Thesis Endocrinology Obstetrics Environmental Medicine Sports Medicine
Semester 8: Clinical Education Geriatrics Oncology Dermatology Minor Surgery Rheumatology Medical Ethics Practice Management IV Therapeutics
Disclaimer Dr. Cole holds a license as a Naturopathic Physician in the state of Vermont as New York state does not offer licensure for Naturopathic physicians. In the state of New York, naturopathic medicine is not intended as diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure for any disease, mental or physical, and is not intended as a substitute for regular medical care.