“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
Thomas A. Edison US inventor (1847 – 1931)
Thomas Edison, a man who most American’s hold in high regard answers this question with his words above. He understood in his lifetime that doctors are teachers and counselors. He understood traditional naturopathy. Traditional naturopaths are not medical doctors. Be forewarned should anyone assert otherwise. There are naturopathic doctors who attend a medical school with some attention to areas that are essential for traditional naturopaths. Naturopathic doctors still have traditional western medicine training. Their focused practice is still MD based and they prescribe pharmaceuticals. Traditional naturopaths are not allowed to diagnose or treat disease nor do they consider a pharmaceutical option. Naturopaths coach and counsel clients about prevention and alternatives for medical treatments for disease.
The primary reason to visit a naturopath is after extended treatment by your physician or specialist you simply are not resolving your problem. The classic case might be when a client presents with symptoms of “gastric reflux” He comes with his “Tums” or some prescribed pill. A naturopath would explain the mechanism for “gastric reflux”, and then suggest addition of HCL acid with his meals. Rarely do clients have complaints about their results. They ask, “Doctors turn off acid yet naturopaths increase acid?”
Another reason to consider a naturopath is to locate medical professionals in your area who are in tune with finding natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals. Nationally prominent medical professionals include Dr Joseph Mercola who is an osteopathic physician, also known as a DO. Dos are licensed physicians who, similar to MDs, prescribe medications and perform surgery in all 50 states. DOs and MDs have similar training requiring four years of study in the basic and clinical sciences, and the successful completion of licensing exams. But DOs bring something extra to the practice of medicine. Osteopathic physicians practice a “whole person” approach, treating the entire person rather than just symptoms. Focusing on preventive health care, DOs help patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that don’t just fight illness, but help prevent it, too. There are DO’s near you and your naturopath will know them well.
A third reason to try naturopathy is when you are seeking alternatives to pharmaceuticals. Your naturopath should understand herbal remedies and nutritional and dietary supplements and be able to offer alternatives. Of course you should confirm with your medical professional.
Today our country’s people are sicker than ever, They consume increasing amounts of pharmaceuticals. The NCHS reported that between 1997 and 2002 expenses for prescription drugs increased 75%. Since then the trend continues to increase. 45% of Americans use at least one prescription drug daily. The Kaiser family foundation reports 2.1 billion prescriptions were written in 1994 and 3.5 billion were written in 2004 68% increase….. spending on these drugs is projected by 2015 to be 446.2 billion dollars.
Ask yourself, “Are we as a nation healthier due to the increasing use of prescription drugs? Since most agree the answer is no, I suggest that you try naturopathy. It’s focus is on treatments that are natural and therefore less toxic. Naturopathy offers solutions to chronic health issues that may surprise you.
Use your favorite search engine and search either “naturopath” or “naturopathy”, “Local”. Make an appointment and visit. You should be pleasantly surprised.
Most have research based practices and typically specialize in wellness counsel. Most will avoid puffing up their ability and defer to medical practitioners who are aligned in thought but whose ability exceeds that of a naturopath. One sure way to evaluate your naturopath is to ask him to which medical professionals he refers for these conditions: Cancer, Diabetes, ADHD, and Cholesterol Issues. If he has working relationships with the medical community and several DO’s you can feel comfortable that he is competent.
The processes of a naturopath are varied and usually each practitioner has two or three specialties. Herbal remedies are a mainstay. Nutritional supplementation and detoxification protocols are also important parts.
There are several naturopathic associations across the country. A word of caution is warranted. There are reasons to be cautious when selecting a naturopath. A simple three-step process can give you indications if your naturopathy has potential to be of service to you.
1. Consider their time in practice. 5 years minimum preferred 10+ years
2. Referrals Does he or she have 2 -5 people who are willing to talk to you about his services?
3. This one is most important. Can he or she give you 2 – 5 physicians that he works with in his practice. This is the most important one as medical professionals are very reluctant to confirm naturopathy. If your naturopath has medical professionals who he refers to regularly That’s a great sign and should give you confidence.