What is a Naturopathic Doctor?

A licensed Naturopathic physician has attended a four-year naturopathic medical school, is clinically trained, and works in all aspects of family health, from pediatric to geriatric care.

Naturopathy’s comprehensive systems approach to clinical decision making addresses underlying contributions to disease and incorporates behavioral, lifestyle, and other interventions to support disease prevention and to improve patient outcomes.

Naturopathic physicians prioritize early intervention and non-invasive treatments designed to address clinical systems and underlying causes of dysfunction, rather than focusing primarily on symptom management.

This includes instituting not only therapies that support health, but also approaches that eliminate sources of dysfunction.

Treatment choices include evidence-based natural therapies, and may include necessary and appropriate pharmaceutical and/or other interventions. Treatment plans emphasize principles of healthy living and encourage patient engagement through education and advocacy, while offering additional perspectives and therapeutic options for both acute and chronic diseases.

To achieve their patients’ goals this model supports the interprofessional collaboration of naturopathic physicians with other healthcare professionals. Naturopathic physicians working in integrative settings, such as The How Clinic, provide an exceptionally well qualified experience base for fostering high performance, cost effective team-based care.

What are key aspects to Naturopathic Medicine and Therapy?

  • Comprehensive in its approach to whole health, whole person primary care.
  • Focused on addressing underlying causes of acute and chronic diseases.
  • Dedicated to health promotion, minimally invasive therapies, and reducing healthcare costs
  • Individualized to engage patients and to support health-related lifestyle and behavioral change.

What will happen at my appointment with my ND?

A standard naturopathic clinical encounter begins with a comprehensive, systems-based assessment that is highly individualized to each patient and that addresses underlying mechanisms driving the disease process. Physicians address individual signs and symptoms, as well as the many determinants that influence health and illness.

Your ND will look to gain an understanding of multiple physiological systems and evaluate circumstances and conditions that create clinical dysfunction, including:

  • comprehensive personal history (medical, psychosocial, socioeconomic)
  • family history
  • genetics and epigenetics
  • environmental and occupational exposures
  • medication history (including medications, supplements, and botanicals)diet and lifestyle
  • psycho-emotional health (including trauma  history, stress resilience, coping style, and psychosocial support)
  • systems function (digestive, hepatobiliary, cardiovascular, renal, endocrine, musculoskeletal, immunological, neurological)
  • Lack of purpose (commitment to something meaningful provides a motivation for change)

What kind of testing is often recommended?

NDs may use a range of naturopathic, conventional, functional, and specialized diagnostic tests to perform this comprehensive evaluation, including but not limited to:

  • comprehensive physical exam, including skin, pain, cognitive, communication, posture, gait, activities of daily living, fitness, GYN/prostate, etc.
  • psycho-social-spiritual evaluations including diet, activity, sleep, spiritual practices
  • standard tests, such as blood analysis, urinalysis, stool tests, and diagnostic imaging
  • specialized tests, such as food sensitivity testing, biochemical analyses (e.g., methylation, oxidation, detoxification), metabolic pathways, comprehensive stool analysis, toxins and toxic load, advanced hormone testing, neurotransmitter testing, and advanced cardiometabolic testing.

What kind of treatment will my Naturopath recommend?

Guided by the naturopathic medical school curriculum and scope of practice and informed by the Therapeutic Order (TM) clinical methodology addresses treatment at several levels, based on the  individual’s needs:

  • Foundational support: healthy diet, movement and exercise, stress management, emotional and spiritual health, toxin exposure management, social and environmental determinants
  • Therapeutic diets and nutrition therapy
  • Botanical medicines and dietary supplements
  • Restorative therapies: hydrotherapy, manual medicine, homeopathy, etc.
  • Evidence-based, disease-targeted therapy: therapeutic use of nutrients, vitamins, herbs, and (where state regulations include it in the profession’s scope of practice) pharmaceuticals
  • Physical medicine modalities: massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, regenerative injection therapy (trigger point therapy, prolotherapy, platelet therapy, etc.
  • Mind-body techniques: mindfulness meditation, yoga, relaxation modalities, sensory-based therapies, behavioral modification, biofeedback, etc.
“Discover Naturopathic Physicians: Whole Health Specialists in Whole Person Care.” Naturemed Pro, https://www.naturemedpro.org/discover-naturopathic-physicians-whole-health-specialists-in-whole-person-care.