What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine, or naturopathy, is a primary health care discipline that places emphasis upon prevention and the body’s natural ability to heal. Naturopathic doctors merge ancient medical knowledge and philosophies with modern, conventional medicine to identify and treat the underlying cause(s) of disease. Naturopathic medicine utilizes treatments that focus on the root cause of a disease state rather than symptom suppression. The therapies deployed in naturopathic medicine are evidence-based, drawing from the results of clinical trials and those reported in peer-reviewed journals. In addition to conventional and naturopathic medicine, naturopathic therapies may also comprise complementary medicine, homeopathy, phytotherapy, clinical nutrition, psychology, and spirituality.
Naturopathic medicine, in general, follows six fundamental and guiding principles:
- First do no harm
- The healing power of nature
- Discover and treat the cause, not just the effect
- Treat the whole person
- The physician is a teacher
- Prevention is the best cure
About Naturopathic Doctors
The physicians that practice naturopathic medicine are known as naturopathic doctors (NDs). Naturopathic doctors must successfully complete a four-year curriculum in an accredited naturopathic medical school. Naturopathic doctors received the same training in the basic sciences as conventional medical doctors (MDs), but also receive training in clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, physical medicine, homeopathy, counseling, and psychology. As with medical doctors, naturopathic doctors must successfully complete a rigorous board examination (NPLEX) in order to obtain state licensure and the legal right to practice naturopathic medicine in Washington state. During the final two years of training, students of naturopathic medicine must complete internships in hospital or out-patient clinics under the direct supervision of licensed professionals. The naturopathic doctors at Cascade Integrative Medicine obtained their doctorate degrees in naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University, which was listed as one of America’s best medical schools by The Princeton Review.
As primary care physicians, naturopathic doctors work collaboratively with other conventional medical doctors and specialists (both referring patients to and receiving referrals from) to co-manage patients.