Wednesday, February 1, 2017
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Why we need more naturopathic medicine doctors in America in 2017.jpg

Naturopathic medicine doctors (NDs) currently practice throughout the United States, working in private practice, hospitals, multi-disciplinary clinics, community health centers, and specialty treatment centers such as Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). But with demand for this type of holistic care growing, there is certainly a need for more trained NDs.

For many, naturopathic physicians or NDs can offer a new perspective on their health care. NDs treat a wide variety of medical conditions and can provide both individual and family health care. Some of the most common ailments they treat include allergies, chronic pain, digestive issues, heart disease, fertility problems, cancer, autoimmunity, and complex chronic conditions.

What is a naturopathic doctor?

Using traditional healing methods, principles, and practices, naturopathic medicine focuses on holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. NDs combine the wisdom of cooperating with nature with the rigors of modern science, utilizing gentle treatments that support the body’s own healing power. They practice personalized medicine and consider each patient’s unique situation based on genetics, environmental exposures, and lifestyle.

They are highly trained as thorough diagnosticians and focus on the least invasive and least toxic therapies when treating patients. Treatment modalities can include nutritional counseling, botanical medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, and minor surgery. The solutions may be simple, but they are significant and impactful when it comes to overall health.

Avoid costly prescription drugs and their harmful effects.

With the changing political landscape, many Americans are experiencing uncertainty concerning health insurance and the different avenues available to finance their health care needs.

Health care can be a large expense for individuals and families, especially those with chronic diseases. And one of the largest expenses people face is costly prescriptions.

However, patients who see a naturopathic doctor can often both avoid costly drugs and also the often harmful side-effects that may result from using them. Instead, naturopathic medicine focuses on treating a wide-spectrum of illnesses using nature’s healing power.

This healing power is not only harnessed through the use of natural herbs and botanicals. It often involves counseling patients on what they eat and how they live.

Improve your lifestyle.

In today’s world of fad diets, overly processed foods, and GMOs, living a healthy lifestyle can be challenging. It can also be difficult to know what exactly you may be doing that’s negatively impacting your health.

Naturopathic doctors look beyond the symptoms their patients may be experiencing. They work to consider the underlying causes of a condition and how to prevent the issue from occurring in the first place. For those who have recurring conditions, this might be especially useful.

In fact, identifying and treating the causes of an illness rather than just the symptoms is one of the six principles of naturopathic medicine. Those who visit an ND, who has a degree from a CNME accredited program, can rest assured that he/she is trained in these principles.

Another principle NDs follow is to be a teacher, not just a doctor to patients. NDs strive to educate patients in the steps to achieving and maintaining optimal health. That way, patients have the tools to practice healthy living in their everyday lives.

There's a growing demand for NDs.

More people than ever are seeking forms of natural health care treatments and are choosing naturopathic doctors as their main source of primary care. As a result, more and more states are beginning to recognize the value of naturopathic medicine to their citizens.

Pennsylvania and Massachusetts recently joined 17 other states (and Washington D.C.) in recognizing licensure for NDs. Licensure ensures that an ND holds a graduate degree from an accredited naturopathic medical school — such as National University of Health Sciences  successfully passed national board exams, and complies with practice and professional standards set forth by state legislators.

All of this means patients can trust they are receiving quality care.

As word about naturopathic medicine’s gentle, natural, health-optimizing benefits continues to spread, it becomes apparent that this alternative health care option is here to stay.

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Posted by Dr. Ashley Biscoe

Dr. Ashley Biscoe is a licensed naturopathic doctor who co-founded the Attune Functional Medicine clinic in Colorado. She discovered her passion for health care after she overcame her own health challenges through natural medicine. Dr. Biscoe earned her doctor of naturopathic medicine degree from National University of Health Sciences and her master of public health in health behavior and health education from the University of Michigan.