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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

What is a Naturopathic Doctor?

How does Naturopathic Medicine differ in Philosophy from Conventional Medicine?

What training does a naturopathic doctor go through? Is the training the same as an MD?

What schools provide naturopathic training?

Are naturopaths licensed to practice medicine?

What is homeopathy?

Do naturopaths ever use the techniques or medicines associated with conventional medicine?

Do naturopaths ever work with MDs?

Do NDs work in hospitals?

Is naturopathy the same as "alternative medicine"?

Does health insurance pay for naturopathic treatment?

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic Medicine is a unique type of health care that emphasizes the use of prevention and natural therapeutics. It is a branch of medicine that believes that the body has an innate ability to heal and focuses on the underlying cause of disease. Naturopathic medicine utilizes many different modalities, including botanical medicine, vitamins, minerals, dietary supplements, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, naturopathic physical medicine and nutritional counseling. Naturopathic doctors have a pharmaceutical formulary and you can check your state organization to get more details.

The New Hampshire state law defines naturopathic medicine as “a system of primary health care practiced by doctors of naturopathic medicine for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of human health conditions, injuries, and diseases that uses education, natural medicines and therapies to support and stimulate the individual’s intrinsic self-healing processes.”

What is a Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) offer the widest array of complementary and alternative medical services available in healthcare. NDs are trained to serve as primary care general practitioners and are experts in the prevention, diagnosis, management, and treatment of both acute and chronic health conditions. In order to become a licensed ND it is required that an applicant be a graduate of an accredited Naturopathic medical school and pass all state and national required board examinations (NPLEX).

How does Naturopathic medicine differ in philosophy from conventional medicine?

Similar to conventional medicine, Naturopathic medicine utilizes comparable diagnostic methods including physical exams and labs. Where we differ is mainly in our treatment methods and our philosophies. In the state of New Hampshire Naturopaths have a formulary in which they can prescribe a wide variety of pharmaceuticals, however; our first choice is naturopathic modalities. During an office visit, naturopathic practitioners spend a significant amount of time gathering a patient’s history in order to get a better understanding of the root cause of the condition. Rather than treating symptomatically, NDs focus their treatment on addressing the cause and are guided by the following six principles:

  1. First Do No Harm
  2. The Healing Power of Nature
  3. Find the Cause
  4. Treat the Whole Person
  5. Preventive Medicine
  6. Doctor as Teacher

Although our practice treatments and philosophy may at times differ from other conventional doctors, we embrace collaborative and integrative medicine. We believe in the value of treating our patients with the best possible care, and this can involve close participation with other specialists.

What training does a naturopathic doctor go through? Is the training the same as an MD?

Naturopathic doctors are trained at accredited, four-year, post-graduate naturopathic medical programs. Currently, there are 3 accredited schools in the U.S. which are; National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) in Oregon, Bastyr in Washington, and Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Arizona. There are also two schools in Canada. Additionally, Bridgeport University is currently eligible for accredidation. These schools are accredited by the same board that accredits medical schools such as Harvard and Boston University.

The ND degree course of study at the naturopathic college is an intensive four-year doctoral program that prepares candidates for state board licensing examinations and the general practice of naturopathic medicine. Upon graduation, alumni are eligible to sit for board examinations in states and provinces that license naturopathic physicians. The core, or required, curriculum provides the foundation and skills necessary for establishing a naturopathic family practice.

First year studies include courses such as anatomy and physiology with lab, biochemistry, microbiology and public health, histology, research and statistics, palpation, and an introduction to naturopathic theory, philosophy, and therapeutics.

Second year focuses on the study of disease and diagnosis while beginning course work in botanical medicine, therapeutic manipulation, clinical nutrition, and homeopathic medicine sequences. To enter into the clinical training of the third year, students must pass all basic science and diagnostic courses and board exams, as well as a clinic entrance examination.

Third year continues focusing on the botanical medicine, manipulation, clinical nutrition, and homeopathic medicine sequences, begins the organ systems courses (which emphasize case management), and gives major emphasis to clinical training. Students must pass a clinical primary status exam to proceed in the clinic.

Fourth year continues the clinical organ systems courses. The major focus of the fourth year is practical clinical training, working side by side with licensed physicians caring for patients. A clinic proficiency exam ensures clinical competency prior to graduation

To see a complete outline of the Naturopathic degree you can visit http://www.ncnm.edu/academics/Program_Layouts.php.

Are Naturopathic Doctors licensed?

Naturopathic doctors are currently licensed in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Idaho,Hawaii, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah,Vermont, Washington, and U.S. territories: Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Naturopathic Doctors have been licensed as primary care doctors in New Hampshire since 1995 and have a broad scope of practice in which they can prescribe a variety of pharmaceutical, nutritional supplements, botanical medicine and homeopathy, perform physical exams, and order labs.

What is Homeopathy?

Included in the Naturopathic program, students are required to take four terms of homeopathic studies, and are offered four additional terms of homeopathic electives. Homeopathy is often practiced by many Naturopathic doctors. Drs. Mikulis and Waters have both completed all doctoral coursework and electives in homeopathy.

Homeopathy is an effective scientific system of medicine, FDA approved and assists the natural tendency of the body to heal itself. It recognizes that illness is an expression of disharmony within the whole person and that it is the patient who needs treatment, not the disease. Homeopathy works by stimulating an individual’s body at a cellular level, to bring it back into balance in a subtle way. Because homeopathic remedies are highly diluted they do not interfere with other medications that an individual may be taking.

Do naturopaths ever use the techniques or medicines associated with conventional medicine?

Similar to Medical doctors, Naturopaths have their own pharmaceutical formulary which varies from state to state. Under New Hamphire’s law, Naturopaths are permitted to prescribe certain medication including; antibiotics, insulin, hormones, vaccines, and neutraceuticals. Additionally, Naturopaths are also trained in clinical physical diagnosis, lab analysis, and can perform physical examinations.

Do naturopaths ever work with MDs?

There are many integrative clinics and hospitals where NDs work along side with MDs. Often many patients see an MD as well as an ND for adjunct care. In such cases, many Naturopaths communicate with and discuss patient treatment plans with the Medical doctor.

Do NDs work in hospitals?

There are a number of NDs in the US who work either primarily in hospitals, or do shifts part time within hospitals or community clinics. For example, at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Naturopaths work along side with MDs, nurses and other practitoners providing integrative care for people with cancer.

Is naturopathy the same as "alternative medicine"?

Naturopathic medicine is a type of alternative medicine, but they are not one in the same. Alternative medicine may also include Chinese medicine, homeopathy, massage therapy, chiropractic medicine, etc. Naturopathic medicine is a distinct practice in which one must attend an accredited naturopathic school and pass both basic science and clinical board exams. Only then is a person able to practice as a Naturopathic doctor.

Does health insurance cover naturopathic treatment?

It varies from state to state. Check with your insurance company to see if such treatments are covered by your policy.

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