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Is a Naturopathic Doctor a Real Doctor

The question “is a naturopathic doctor a real doctor?” is often asked by patients who do not understand naturopathic medicine and those in search of alternative methods of treatments.  Having a good understanding of the role of doctors in our health, and who a naturopathic doctor is will help answer this question.  The purpose of this article is  give individuals a clear understanding of the scope of naturopathic medicine when seeking the service of a Naturopathic Doctor.


What is a Doctor?

A doctor is a person who helps to restore or maintain human health through the practice of medicine.  Doctors are trained in specific medical practices to diagnose and treat human diseases, injuries, pains, and disorders.  Doctors will approach your health issues depending on their medical focus and training.  In conventional medicine they can be separated by specialty like oncologist, neurosurgeons, cardiologist, dentist, plastic surgeons and primary care.  However some doctors are trained to diagnose and treat disease but approach things slightly different than the conventional.  Osteopathic doctors and chiropractic doctors focus on helping the body heal through proper alignment of the bones. Naturopathic doctors approach medicine and health differently too. 

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is known for a more holistic approach to health but is an independent medical profession based on the same biomedical sciences as conventional "allopathic" medicine. While conventional medicine doctors diagnose and treat human disease, naturopathic doctors seek to prevent disease, optimize human health, and treat human disease. One of the core tenants or principals is The Healing Power of Nature.  This principle states that the human body is an organism with an intrinsic ability to heal itself. Therefore, the goal of naturopathic medicine is to provide support to the body so it can restore the body to a better state of balance.  


What is A Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic Doctors blend the wisdom of nature with the precision of modern science in their evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.  A licensed naturopath (Naturopathic Doctor) attends a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school after completing at least four years of pre-medical undergraduate studies. Upon entering medical school, a naturopathic doctor is educated in all basic sciences as a medical doctor. However, he or she also studies holistic and nontoxic therapeutic approaches with particular emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing well-being.  In addition to a standard medical program, a naturopathic doctor must perform training in clinical nutrition, oriental medicine, homeopathy, botanical medicine, acupuncture, medical psychology, and counseling.  A licensed naturopathic doctor takes Naturopathic Medical Board Exams before being licensed.   Once licensed naturopathic physicians are regulated by the Naturopathic Medical Board in their given state. This regulatory body monitors for standards of practice, complaints, and issues disciplinary action when needed.  A naturopathic doctor that does not hold a license to practice medicine likely have limited education and training in comparison. For instance some naturopaths or naturopathic doctors get their education from an online course. They typically don't get educated on biomedical sciences or have clinical training. 

A Naturopathic Doctor Phoenix are board certified, well-trained, deliver health care treatments that treat the whole person and restore health using principals of naturopathic medicine.  There are 6 principals that guide naturaopthic doctors in their care for patients. These 6 principles are:

  • The Healing Power of Nature (vis medicarix naturae): A Naturopathic doctor believes that there is an order and intelligence within the body.  It is this force that returns the body to a state of equilibrium and facilitates the natural healing of the body.  natruopathic doctors have to trust in and support this force rather than work against it. 
  • First Do No Harm (primum non nocere): When two treatment options present themselves, use the treatment(s) that is least likely to cause the person more problems and harm.  Naturopathic doctors use the least invasive and toxic most natural therapies.
  • Identify and Treat The Cause (tolle causam): For a naturopathic doctor the goal is to look beyond the symptoms and find a theme or underlying cause that can be treated. Sometimes this is as simple as removing something that is toxic in the diet like alcohol or a food allergy.  By removing this the body has a chance to restore health. 
  • Treat the Whole Body (tolle totem):  The body consists of a complex network of systems that communicate with each other. To correct disease and dysfunction, all systems must be taken into account with an individualized approach. 
  • Doctor as Teacher (docere): The word doctor comes from a Latin word docere which means to teach. others through the gained knowledge. Naturopathic doctors guide and teach principles of healthy living and educate patients on the cause of their health problems.  Through education there is an increased therapeutic potential. 
  • Prevention (praevenire): Health sustainability is dependent on the prevention of diseases.  Naturopathic doctors emphasize this by assessing your risk factors and using interventions to minimize these risks. They also encourage preventive measures through improving lifestyle.

After going through the above content, it should be clear that naturopathic doctors are real doctors with unique and effective ways to help people.  Sme states don't have naturopathic doctor licensing but but here in phoenix make sure you are getting help from a true naturopathic doctor.


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