What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Written By Naturopathic Doctor, Megan Haas
I get it all the time- “So you’re a homeopath?” “So it’s like herbal medicine?” “Is it acupuncture?” Close, but no cigar. There are a lot of misconceptions and loose ideas as to what a Naturopathic doctor does. And to be completely honest, no two Naturopathic doctors operate in the same manner. That’s not to say that there is no standardization in our field of work, because there is. Every true Naturopathic doctor must have graduated from an accredited medical school approved by the Council of Naturopathic Medical Education. So, why the “true” in front of that? Well, because there are institutions out there that deem their online participants the title of “Naturopath” after completing a 6 month online education. The difference: I spent 10 years achieving my doctorate degree- grudging through calculus, dissecting a human body, interning with experienced doctors, writing a 30 page thesis, passing board exams, participating in clinic rotations.. etc. How that could all be squeezed in a 6 month online program, not too sure. But I will leave that one up to your discretion.
So if I’m not a homeopath or acupuncturist and not an MD either- what am I? Well, I am a trained physician who approaches human health in a holistic manner with a philosophy that focuses on individuality, prevention, exploring the root cause of disease and healing that comes without the use of drugs or surgery. The tools we use to treat our patients include: listening, counseling, dietetics, nutrition, targeted nutrient therapy, herbal medicine, homeopathy, joint manipulation and other physical therapies. Since we have so many tools, Naturopathic doctors tend to excel in certain areas more than others which makes us all so different. So, I do use homeopathy but I’m not a homeopath. I’m not an acupuncturist but in some states I can use this modality. My title is ND, not MD and I’m proud of it!
Visiting a Naturopathic doctor will be like no other doctor visit you’ve had before. A first office visit will likely be 1-2 hours. Why? Because we know that you are unique genetically, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Who you are today is an accumulation of all these factors-factors which may be suppressing or supporting your wellness. After getting to know you, we may suggest traditional or some not so traditional testing to further investigate some signs and symptoms. We’ll likely prescribe you a protocol that includes some diet suggestions, lifestyle changes and a few supplements. We might even ask you to put some wet socks on your feet! (for further explanation wait for my cold and flu article! ) After your first appointment, a Naturopathic doctor will want to see you back in a couple of weeks to monitor how you are doing. How often you return to your Naturopathic doctor is determined by your needs and health goals.
So in closing: I’m a Naturopathic Doctor. It’s just a title but it’s what the title means that is important. There’s only one way to find out what we truly do: experience an appointment for yourself!
March 1, 2017 | Dr. Megan Haas