Education & Philosophy Behind Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic medical colleges are four-year post-graduate schools that require the completion of a pre-medical school degree to enter. The Naturopathic degree involves graduate level study in the medical sciences including anatomy, cardiology, biochemistry, neurology, radiology, pathology, pediatrics, gynecology, immunology, dermatology, pharmacology, microbiology, lab diagnostics as well as other clinical sciences. Throughout the four year program there is also specialized training in naturopathic therapeutics which include medical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, naturopathic manipulative therapy and others. Due to the many additional hours of natural therapeutics, Naturopathic Doctors receive more extensive classroom training then graduates of a basic medical school (M.D.) programs.
Additionally, Naturopathic physicians need to meet the licensing requirements set forth by that province or state. ND graduates are required to pass rigorous professional board exams in order to be licensed as primary care general practice physicians. Only graduates from post-graduate accredited naturopathic medical schools are eligible to sit for the professional board exams in licensed states and provinces. NDs must also fulfill state-mandated continuing education requirements each year in order to keep their license current.
In some states Naturopathic physicians are also known as Naturopathic Medical Doctors (ND, NMD). An ND is a family practice physician who has chosen to focus on the study of complementary and alternative medical therapies. Naturopathic physicians both diagnose and treat illness. They also practice preventative healthcare, helping to educate patients as well as taking extra steps in each patient’s program to ensure that all effective medical procedures and tests are offered. This ensures the chance of an earlier diagnosis of illness, which leads to a higher chance of recovery and more vital heath in the future life of the patient. Being well versed in contemporary medical care techniques and pharmaceutical drugs as well as all complementary and alternative approaches, an ND helps patients to come to the best-informed decision about their individual healthcare choices.
Naturopathic philosophy focuses on treating the whole person and strives to find the underlying cause of the patient’s condition rather then focusing solely on symptomatic treatment. A naturopathic approach to healthcare focuses on taking the time to understand each patient’s individual needs. With “the patient comes first” approach in a health care system the ND is able to recommend the most appropriate and comprehensive therapies the first time. Where the situation calls for, Naturopathic physicians also work with all other branches of medical science to provide the most thorough patient care.