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What do Naturopathic Doctors do?

ND’s are primary care physicians trained to prevent, as well as diagnose, treat, and cure disease using many different therapeutic modalities. They are family doctors that treat acute and chronic disease. They accomplish this by following the six basic principles of naturopathic medicine: 

1) Always treat the whole patient, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically, through individualized treatment, 

2) Always identify and treat the root causes of disease, not only their signs and symptoms, 

3) Always do no harm, or, at the very least, do as little harm as possible, 

4) Naturopathic doctors are first and foremost teachers of health, 

5) Naturopathic doctors are guided by not only their faith, but furthermore by their fundamental and scientific understanding of the healing power of nature, 

6) Disease should be prevented, not only diagnosed, treated, and cured.

ND’s embrace and share a wholistic approach. They treat the whole person. Their treatment plans are custom tailored to the individual patient. Moreover, ND’s don’t treat disease, they treat patients. For example: ND’s understand that different patients have different headaches for different reasons. ND’s recognize that some patient’s have headaches because they smoke, while others have headaches because they are dehydrated.

ND’s also recognize that because everyone’s different, that not everyone who smokes has headaches, nor does everyone who is dehydrated. When people suffer from headaches, pain relievers are commonly utilized to palliate them, or make them go away. This might be a great short-term solution, but it is not curative. Really, the headache is still there, it is just that the person can no longer feel it.

Identifying the cause is important because symptoms are the body’s way of saying that something is out of balance, and covering up the symptoms is essentially like taking the warning signs away. Take a smoke detector for example. When the smoke detector goes off in your home, you can take the batteries out of it, and you will no longer be forced to listen to it. The problem with this approach is that there still might be smoke or a fire. Our body is smart and often gives us warnings signs such as headaches, fatigue, depression, anxiety, hormonal imbalances, muscle pain, loss of libido, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, hair loss, joint inflammation, insomnia, etc. Take the example above concerning headaches. If only palliated, a more serious condition may develop that could have been prevented by listening to the warning and resolving that issue by treating the underlying cause. It is the goal of ND’s to find the underlying cause, to remove any barriers to the body’s ability to heal itself, and to support the healing process through various treatment modalities. The result is a safe, gentle, effective, and long-term treatment that strengthens the body’s resistance to disease and guides the body toward optimal health.

ND’s do a thorough intake on all new patients, so that they fully understand the reason for the visit, as well as the medical history, family history, and social and personal history. ND’s will ask questions about lifestyle and environment, diet, exercise, recreation and hobbies, work, stress, and spiritual, emotional, and mental health, and more. In addition to this thorough intake, as part of the evaluation, physical examinations, diagnostic imaging and lab testing might be utilized. Only when the complexities of the whole person are considered, can there be time and space for genuine and true healing to occur.

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