Naturopathic medicine is a holistic healthcare profession that offers an integrative and functional approach to healing. It focuses on treating the whole person, mind and body, and integrating information across organ systems and all aspects of their being. The goal is to achieve optimal function throughout the body.
Natural therapies minimize risk and address the underlying imbalances that are causing your symptoms. These include nutrition & lifestyle counseling, herbs, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, and more. NDs spend the time it takes to listen to your whole story.
Our naturopathic philosophy is first and foremost what sets us apart from other forms of medicine. This philosophy is based on our 6 principles listed below.
6 Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
First, Do No Harm
Utilize the safest, most natural therapies in the least invasive way possible.
The Healing Power of Nature
Support the inherent self-healing process, and trust in the body’s ability to heal itself.
Identify and Treat the Causes
Seek to identify and remove the root cause(s) of illness, rather than suppressing the symptoms.
It is better to prevent an illness than treat an illness.
Treat the Whole Person
Address imbalances at each level of the human being: spiritual, mental, emotional and whole physical body.
Doctor as Teacher
Teach patients how to care for themselves and empower them to take responsibility of their health.
Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) utilize a therapeutic order that guides them in choosing the least invasive therapies needed to stimulate healing.
Because we wish to minimize the risk, invasiveness, and expense of your medical care, NDs address the foundation of your health before intervening at higher levels.
Therapeutic Order of Care
Step 1. Establish The Foundations For Health:
Identify and remove the obstacles to healing by establishing a healthy regimen.
Step 2. Stimulate The Body's Ability To Heal:
Facilitate the forces that move us toward health.
Step 3. Support Weakened Systems:
Address and correct specific imbalances and support systems/organs that have been weakened by past health disturbances.
Step 4. Correct Structural Integrity:
Restore proper function and alignment of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.
Step 5. Prescribe Specific Natural Substances:
Address disease symptoms with natural substances (herbs, homeopathy, nutritional supplements) while addressing underlying imbalances.
Step 6. Prescribe Specific Pharmaceutical or Synthetic Substances:
Utilize medications that replace function or suppress symptoms, only when absolutely necessary.
Step 7. Use Higher Force Interventions:
Utilize highly invasive therapies in acute trauma or as a last resort when necessary (i.e. surgery, chemotherapy, radiation).
We start here
Naturopathic Medical Education
Experts in Natural Medicine
Naturopathic doctors (NDs) complete an intensive four year post-undergraduate doctoral level medical program. Students complete a minimum of 4,100 hours of class and clinical training, including over 1,200 hours of hands-on, supervised, clinical experience. Educaution in biomedical sciences and clinical diagnostics is comparable to conventional medical school (MDs).
NDs also receive extensive training in the holistic application of natural therapeutics: clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, physical manipulation, hydrotherapy and homeopathic medicine.
To become a licensed naturopathic doctor, one must have completed their studies at an accredited program (described above) and pass the NPLEX exam, a rigorous 3-day professional board exam.
Licensed Naturopathic Doctors
Licensed naturopathic doctors have completed the education and board exams described above and are regulated at the state level to practice naturopathic medicine. State mandated regulatory bodies oversee standards of practice, complaints, and discipline for all licensed jurisdictions.
In some states with laws regulating naturopathic doctors, the use of the term “naturopath” or “naturopathic physician/doctor” by anyone other than a licensed naturopathic doctor is prohibited. However, not all states regulate naturopathic doctors and not all states that do protect the term “naturopath.”
In pre-licensed states, like Indiana, anyone can call themselves a naturopathic doctor, regardless of their education. Therefore, unlicensed naturopaths, or traditional naturopaths, can have varied levels of education and experience, often from a purely online or correspondence format. Such education is not accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and does not qualify students to take the NPLEX examination or apply for licensure in any regulated jurisdiction in North America. To learn more about licensure in Indiana visit inanp.org.
As a patient, you should also know that the terms “naturopathic doctor”, “naturopathic physician” and “naturopath” are often used interchangeably by medical practitioners in other disciplines and the public, even though unlicensed naturopaths do not have the same training or privileges.
Knowing the difference between licensed naturopathic doctors and unlicensed naturopaths can help you make informed decisions about which type of provider can best help you.
Dr. Becca maintains a license from the state of Vermont because Indiana does not yet offer licensure. Dr. Becca has completed both an accredited medical school program and NPLEX board exams.
Adapted from naturopathic.org