What Is Naturopathy?
Naturopathy or naturopathic medicine is a primary health care profession which emphasizes the prevention and natural treatment of disease, maintenance of optimal health, and promotion of the individual’s inherent self-healing process which naturopathic physicians refer to as the "vis medicatrix naturae," the healing power of nature.
It blends centuries-old natural, nontoxic therapies with current advances in the study of health and human systems, covering all aspects of family health from prenatal to geriatric care.
Naturopathic medicine has been shown to be effective for treating most health problems, both acute and chronic. Some of the therapies most commonly utilized by NDs include clinical nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, physical medicine (such as myotherapy and hydrotherapy), natural childbirth, oriental medicine, counseling and stress management, and minor surgery.
Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic doctors follow six key principles in their practices:
- The Healing Power of Nature. Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in each of us which is both ordered and intelligent. NDs act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this self-healing ability.
- Identify and Treat the Cause. NDs seek to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness, rather than to merely eliminate isolated symptoms or suppress symptoms.
- First Do No Harm. NDs follow these precepts to avoid harming the patient:
- Utilize methods and medical substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnoses and treat.
- Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms.
- Acknowledge, respect and work with the individual’s self healing process.
- Refer for appropriate treatment when naturopathic therapies are inappropriate.
- Doctor as Teacher. NDs educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of a good doctor-patient relationship.
- Treat the Whole Person. NDs treat each patient taking into account individual physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, genetic, environmental, social and other factors.
- Prevention. NDs emphasize the prevention of disease—assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease and making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness. Naturopathic medicine is committed to the creation of a healthy world in which humanity may thrive.
What Naturopathic Doctors Do
Naturopathic doctors (NDs):
- are trained to be experts in natural medicine.
- We concentrate on whole person wellness; treatment is tailored to each individual and emphasizes prevention, self care and the body’s ability to heal itself when given proper conditions. The greatest success of naturopathy is in rebuilding health, which then naturally improves or eliminates chronic illness.
- We attempt to find the underlying causes of the person’s condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment.
- We believe in integrative medicine and cooperate with all other branches of medicine, referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis and/or treatment when appropriate.
Naturopathic Physicians and Traditional Naturopathic Doctors
- In some states, naturopaths are licensed as primary-care phsyicians whose diagnosis and treatments bridge both conventional and natural medicine perspectives. Missouri does not license naturopaths.
- Both Naturopathic physicians and traditional naturopaths often integrate modern medical practices with natural treatments.
- However, the goal of both naturopathic physicians and traditional naturopathic doctors is the same: to address the underlying cause of disease and promote the body’s natural healing process and educate patients to continue this process.
- As a traditional naturopath, I specialize in non-invasive, lifestyle consultation and recommendations regarding nutritional supplementation, herbs, homeopathy and detoxification protocols. I also provide energy therapies such as Body Talk and Emotional Freedom Technique. A traditional naturopath does not diagnose disease, perform surgery or invasive physical exams or prescribe pharmaceutical medication. In all other ways, traditional naturopaths and naturopathic physicians are the same, with lots of individual variation depending on the particular naturopath one is dealing with.
- Traditional naturopathy is not recommended for acute trauma, such as a serious automobile accident, a childbirth emergency, or orthopedic problems that need corrective surgery. It can contribute to faster recovery in these cases. Still, these situations are best suited for conventional medicine or medical doctors who also have a background in natural medicine. Conventional medicine without a doubt, really excels in emergency health care.
Education & Training of Naturopathic Doctors
Education of naturopathic physicians includes premedical undergraduate coursework, completion of a four year, residential, graduate level program at an accredited naturopathic medical college, two years of supervised clinical internship (and in some cases a one- or two-year postgraduate residency program). NDs study the same basic and clinical sciences as do other medical students as well as the full spectrum of natural medicines and therapies.
It would be wonderful to have programs of natural medicine at all medical schools or have as many naturopathic colleges in the country as conventional medical schools. Indeed, the U.S. used to have many many more until the AMA waged a campaign against naturopathy and homeopathy (there are several good books that document this history.) But the natural health movement is still alive and growing and at some point in the future we will have those colleges again.
To train as comprehensively as the four-year residency program, non-full-time-residency learners must work diligently to get the same kind of education and experience. I completed pre-med studies at the University of Illinois, and then traveled extensively to get much of my other coursework and training, including clinical hours (in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, California, Arizona, New York, Illinois and Florida). Even though I had to travel to train extensively in many of my courses, I have taken most of the same courses as naturopathic physicians, namely: anatomy & physisology, laboratory testing and functional analysis, nutritional and dietary assessments, metabolic analysis, quantitative saliva, urine, and blood analysis, dark field microscopy, functional endocrinology, neurological health and brain chemistry, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and lifestyle counseling. This is in addition to hundreds of hours of seminar time in BodyTalk, Emotional Freedom Technique, Peacemaker training, NVC and other modalities, including neurolinguistic programming, kinesionics, theta healing.
What is the difference between a naturopathic doctor and a medical doctor?
While there are many similarities in how NDs and MDs are trained and practice, there are also important differences. MDs are taught to focus on obtaining a scientifically-based diagnosis that then guides the therapy offered. Often these therapies are aimed at blocking or suppressing a symptom, such as using pain killers and anti-inflammatory medicines for arthritis or using an antibiotic to treat an infection. This approach is very effective especially for treating emergencies and life-threatening health problems, but it often does not work to correct the causes of health problems and has a poor track record in the treatment of chronic diseases which are difficult to diagnose, such as chronic fatigue. MDs, for the most part, focus on treating the disease, not the patient.
While also using scientific methods and arriving at many of the same conclusions as MDs, naturopathic doctors take a more holistic approach and try to understand causes behind a patient’s diagnosis so these can be effectively managed. So, for example, an ND may use herbal or nutritional substances to relieve pain and reduce inflammation in a patient with arthritis, while at the same time use therapies to support healthy joint function and restore damaged tissues. Using a more holistic model, the ND may also look into the role that food intolerances or gastrointestinal health may play in the patient with arthritis. Uncovering these clues can be important in helping patients understand the causes of their conditions and empower them to take a more active role in improving their general health while managing or even reversing their current “diagnosis.”
Is naturopathy the same as homeopathy?
No. Homeopathy is a system of medicine based on the law of similars, or the principal that “like cures like.” Homeopathic remedies are made from plants, minerals and other substances which are given in extremely dilute form. Naturopathic medicine is an eclectic blend of all types of natural medicine, including homeopathy, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, psychology, etc. Some naturopathic doctors practice homeopathy, but not all homeopaths are naturopaths. For more in-depth description of homeopathy, see Homeopathy.
Are Naturopathic Doctors Licensed?
Naturopathic physicians are licensed in 14 states: Alaska, Hawaii, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Kansas, Vermont, California and the District of Columbia.
I have a nationally recognized certification as a Traditional Naturopath, but there is no licensing for CTNs, NDs, or homeopaths in the state of Missouri. I also have a national certification in Classical Homeopathy, issued by the Council for Homeopathic Certification.
In addition, I have several certifications in Emotional Freedom Technique, including "Master EFT Practitioner."
For information on the licensing of NDs and other natural health practitioners, as well as information on ways that government is trying to limit their practice, see the website of the Coalition for Natural Health.
What kinds of conditions can you help with?
Yes2Life is a general practice and a wide range of conditions have seen successful results. Some examples are blood sugar imbalances, cardiovascular risk, anxiety and depression, allergies and asthma, pain and injury, headaches, digestive problems, menstrual conditions, and fatigue/immune problems. Some people come for nutritional support and energy therapy while they are dealing with diseases such as cancer, hepatitis C, or chronic fatigue syndrome. We work to strengthen a person's immunity and deal with side-effects of pharmaceutical drugs and/or chemotherapy.
One of my specialties is supporting individuals at the mental emotional level by helping to uncover the emotional components of illness and to energetically address the blockages to cure that might be caused by deep-seated emotional issues or traumatic events from a person's life. By addressing underlying root causes of illness, healing can take place much more quickly.
Laboratory Testing: Laboratory testing may be necessary in order to identify suspected or hidden causes of health problems. Y2L Natural Health works with a number of clinical laboratories to provide a wide range of tests to meet your specific needs.
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How much does a visit cost?
Like most medical fees, Y2L fees vary depending on the complexity of your case, how much time is spent, whether your visit includes BodyTalk, Emotional Freedom Technique, Matrix Reimprinting, Theta Healing, Biological Terrain Analysis, lab analysis, nutritional counseling, homeopathy, chi or light therapy, and other factors. A straightforward problem of low complexity will take less time and cost less than a comprehensive evaluation of multiple health problems, chronic diseases or conditions of high complexity. I have packages that include all of the above, based on your body's individual needs and preferences and smaller packages for those whose needs are less comprehensive. Please set up a complimentary 20-minute consultation so we can discuss your case and see what package would best suit your needs.
It is true that the client/patient is charged a relatively high fee for case taking and analysis by a homeopath and naturopath. The fee is often higher than what an allopath might charge, or it is similar, but it is not covered by insurance and therefore the patient sometimes feels that the fee is exorbitant. However, it must be remembered that the results in homeopathy and naturopathy are usually deeper and longer lasting (especially in chronic cases) than those in allopathy. People usually understand this fact and are willing to pay for results. In the long run, homeopathic and naturopathic patients spend far less for their medical care than do allopathic patients, because as their health improves, the visits are spaced farther and farther apart, the medication (especially homeopathic) is far less costly, and the need for hospitalization and chronic care is drastically reduced.
Does insurance cover naturopathic medicine?
Naturopathic doctors became licensed in some states in 2005. At this time, most insurance companies have not yet recognized our profession for insurance coverage; however, some of people have had their ND visits covered in California and Arizona. This is not the case in Missouri, since NDs are not licensed in this state. Nevertheless, some people's insurance does reimburse them for our visits and for the supplements. You would have to check your plan.