A “naturopath” is a naturopathic doctor who has been trained to combine nature and science to heal your body. Naturopathic physicians are trained to provide diagnosis and treatment using natural methods.
To become a naturopath, a person must attend a four-year naturopathic medical school where they learn about disease prevention and how to optimize wellness. They learn principles of nutrition, plant medicine, psychology, counseling, and homeopathic medicine.
Naturopathic doctors work in private practice as well as in hospitals and clinics. Rather than using synthetic medications, they choose treatments that work with the body to heal itself harnessing the power of nature.
When you go to a naturopathic doctor, you’ll see that it is in some ways similar to visiting any type of doctor. You’ll give a medical history as well as sharing symptoms you’re experiencing and health goals you would like to achieve.
Your naturopathic doctor may order blood tests or other types of clinical testing. You may also be asked to discuss your diet and lifestyle to help create a better picture of you overall health and wellness.
Additionally, you may be asked about other aspects of your health such as emotional and mental health, family medical history, and social factors. All of this is used to create a sense of your overall health. Naturopaths are working to treat the whole person not just one symptom or problem.
Once you’ve discussed your health concerns, a naturopath will discuss recommendations and prescribe a regimen for you. While naturopaths have training in pharmacology, they typically depend more on botanical medicine, nutrition, and holistic therapies than medical doctors.
Naturopaths can often perform minor procedures but don’t perform major surgeries as medical doctors do. In the United States naturopaths are licensed in 17 states and Washington D.C. However, they are not licensed in all states.
A naturopath can help you to achieve optimal wellness by meeting many of your health needs and using natural solutions. Many natural medicines are effective but also can have side effects so it’s important to have a healthcare provider that can navigate you safely through the process of using natural medicines.
Naturopathic doctors receive years of training and can provide you with general healthcare. However, they serve a different function than medical doctors. Often people find that they get the best results from working with a team of practitioners that meet all of their healthcare needs.