Yes – Naturopathic Doctors Are REAL Doctors
As a naturopathic doctor, I’m very proud of the work my colleagues and I do on behalf of our patients. I believe the path we have chosen for practicing medicine is in the best interests of all those we help given that we strive to treat the whole person rather than just symptoms. We also tend to prefer prevention rather than reaction. Still, there is a lot of misinformation about naturopathic medicine that leaves patients confused. So for the record, naturopathic doctors are indeed REAL doctors. We are not witch doctors, voodoo practitioners, or snake oil salespersons.
There are four important things my new patients need to know about naturopathic medicine in order to alleviate any fears they might have. Before I get to them, though, let me discuss the difference between a naturopath and a naturopathic doctor.
A naturopath is a trained practitioner who may not be licensed or regulated in some states. Naturopaths receive an education primarily in eastern healing techniques in a four-year program. A naturopathic doctor combines the best of Western and Eastern medicine to create a more holistic approach to healing. Naturopathic doctors are medical doctors who undergo the same sort of medical training as any GP or family doctor.
With that out of the way, here are the four things everyone should know about naturopathic doctors:
1. We Don’t Hate Western Medicine
Because naturopathic doctors are medical doctors, we have been trained in the appropriate use of Western medicine. The truth is that we really don’t hate Western medicine. Our only disagreement with others in the medical community is over whether Western medicine has all the answers or not. We naturopathic doctors don’t believe it does. We believe that, more often than not, there are less invasive ways to treat patients than sticking them with needles, prescribing medications, doing surgeries, etc. We do embrace Western medicine and its techniques when appropriate.
2. We Prefer a Healing Partnership
The second thing to understand is that naturopathic doctors prefer to develop a healing partnership with their patients. It is not a matter of us knowing best and you sitting quietly and agreeing to everything we say. We want to know your thoughts; we care about how you feel; we want your participation in determining what the best treatment options are.
3. We See Ourselves as Educators
Naturopathic doctors tend to be very different from allopathic doctors in the arena of education. In other words, we see one of our roles as that of teaching patients how to live healthier lives. Through this educational approach, we can reduce the need for medical intervention over a patient’s lifetime. And even though this might be counterproductive to the business model of the local doctor’s office, we still believe it’s better for patients to visit us as infrequently as possible.
4. We Know Prevention Is the Best Medicine
The primary area of education for naturopathic doctors is that of prevention. We know that if people make a concerted effort to take better care of themselves, they will have less need of medical intervention. Therefore, we strive to teach patients how to prevent illness by adopting and maintaining healthy lifestyles. We focus a lot on nutrition, to that end.
Naturopathic doctors are real doctors who are fully trained, licensed, and regulated. You can trust us to provide the best care we know how to give, combined with a genuine desire to see you live a healthy life as free from medical issues as possible. You should give naturopathic medicine a try if you’ve never experienced it before.