Rooted in rich global traditions many centuries old, and widely practiced throughout Europe and the U.K., Naturopathic Medicine has experienced a powerful resurgence in the United States. We live in enlightened times – more people are now aware of the healing effects of good nutrition, physical fitness, the role of stress in our lives, and the mind/body connection.
We strive to use natural approaches that will do no harm. It’s well documented that natural therapies are highly effective, with a relative absence of side effects. Modern scientific studies continue to support this inescapable truth. Naturopathic Medicine, often eclipsed by “wonder” drugs and advances in hospital technology, has now become a viable – and often preferred – health care option.
A medical doctor (MD) has attended a four-year medical school and has completed a residency program. Naturopathic doctors (ND) also complete four years of post-graduate medical training. Our training is similar to that of medical doctors during the first two years of medical school where we are trained in basic medical sciences – in the second two years our training is focused in natural therapies. While naturopaths also study minor surgery and pharmacology, we have extensive training in natural medicine and procedures that are safe and non-toxic.
Achieving overall wellness is the goal of the naturopathic physician. Individualized treatment is prescribed after careful analysis of the patient’s history, including nutrition, stress, environment and psychological factors. Physical examinations and laboratory tests are performed not only to diagnose illness, but also to determine the health of the organ systems. In practice, we strive to deal with underlying causes. Through improved lifestyle education coupled with nourishing balancing, cleansing and repairing of the body, we – working together – can unleash the healing power of nature. As a result, over time many disease symptoms naturally fall by the wayside.
Perceived to be at odds with one another, Western Medicine and Naturopathic Medicine often need each other. Because the naturopathic physician values all branches of medical science, he readily refers patients to other physicians for diagnostic testing or treatment when appropriate. What matters is showing healthy results for the patient throughout all stages of family care, from natural childbirth through geriatrics.
Dr. Schweitzer has a high regard and great respect for all practitioners who labor on a daily basis to assist their patients. This is especially true of doctors, often in a hospital setting, who are regularly saving lives, performing microsurgery to reattach severed limbs, restore vision, and so forth. But it is an inescapable fact that by the year 2013 the U.S. had fallen to position 37 in Health Rankings by Country according to the World Health Organization (sandwiched between Costa Rica and Slovenia) despite our spending vastly more on healthcare per capita than anyone else.
Perhaps now is the time where we should infuse medical practice with the knowledge and practical clinical experience of actually helping people to get healthier, which often is not the same as treating disease symptoms with expensive drugs and surgery. This is precisely where Naturopathic Medicine is a leader with a proven track record.
Fact: Licensed naturopathic physicians are the ONLY primary care doctors clinically trained in a variety of natural therapies. These include nutrition, homeopathy, acupuncture, physical therapy, hydrotherapy, exercise, counseling and botanical medicine. When looking for alternative health care, be sure to look for the licensed ND distinction – naturopathic doctor.
In addition to being grounded in medical science, physical and clinical diagnoses, with training in how to treat disease and optimize wellness, we’re also versed in labs that tell us about how well the body is functioning, as compared to whether a person has a disease.