Frequently Asked Questions
What is Homeopathy? (Definition from the National Center for Homeopathy)
What is Naturopathic Medicine? Naturopathic medicine is a distinct medical system of healthcare: an art, science and practice of diagnosing and treating people and preventing disease. It honors patients as unique human beings, enabling them to take responsibility for their own health. Naturopathic physicians (N.D.'s) are primary care practitioners, trained as specialists in preventative medicine and natural therapeutics. N.D.'s combine and individualize a wide variety of therapies based on a philosophy which acknowledges and encourages patients to be active participants in their own healthcare. They can practice independently or with provider groups and may also become educators, authors, researchers and consultants.
Naturopathic physicians practice six fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine:
First Do No Harm: Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.
The Healing Power of Nature: The human body possesses the inherent ability to restore health. The physician's role is to facilitate this process with the aid of natural, non-toxic therapies.
Discover and Treat the Cause: Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause. Physicians seek and treat the underlying cause of a disease, not just the effect. Symptoms are viewed as expressions of the body's natural attempt to heal. The origin of disease is removed or treated so the patient can recover.
Treat the Whole Person: View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions. The multiple factors in health and disease are considered while treating the whole person. Physicians provide flexible treatment programs to meet individual health care needs.
Doctor as Teacher: Educate patients in the steps to achieving and maintaining health. The physician's major role is to educate, empower and motivate patients to take responsibility for their own health. Creating a healthy cooperative relationship with the patient has strong therapeutic value.
Prevention is the Best Cure: Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention. Naturopathic physicians are preventative medicine specialists. Physicians assess patient risk factors, hereditary and susceptibility and intervene appropriately to reduce risk and prevent illness. Prevention of disease is best accomplished through education and a lifestyle that supports health.
What is a Naturopathic Doctor? Doctors of Naturopathic medicine (N.D.'s) are trained as primary care providers and, as such, their scope of practice includes clinical and laboratory diagnosis, botanical medicine, nutrition, homeopathy, naturopathic physical medicine, Oriental medicine including acupuncture, counseling and stress management, mind/body medicine, hydrotherapy, minor surgery and IV therapy.
Naturopathic physicians tailor their therapies to meet the individual needs of each patient, factoring in physical, social, emotional and spiritual aspects before prescribing a course of treatment. Because they view natural remedies as complementary as well as primary, Naturopathic physicians cooperate with other medical professionals, referring patients to allopathic medical doctors, surgeons and other specialists whenever appropriate.
Educational Program… Licensed Naturopathic physicians have attended four-year graduate level programs at accredited institutions, where they are educated in the same basic sciences as allopathic physicians (MD's). During the first two years of study, the curriculum focuses on basic and clinical sciences, covering biochemistry, human physiology, histology, anatomy, macro- and microbiology, immunology, human pathology, neuroscience and pharmacology. Laboratory classes include dissection of cadavers, physical exams, palpation, manipulation, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, microbiology, histology and preparation of herbal medicines.
For the final two years of the Naturopathic medical program students are devoted to at least 1200 hours clinical experience and training as they intern in clinical settings under the close supervision of licensed professionals. During clinical rotations, students gain increasing responsibility for the diagnosis and implementation of treatment. Students have access to extended off-site and extended on-site experiences in clinical training with N.D.'s, M.D.'s, and D.O.'s as well as exposure to clinics and hospitals within the community.
What is the Licensure and Scope of Practice of a Naturopath? Licensed laws vary from state to state and province to province. Some states or provinces have no Naturopathic licensure, while others have laws providing a broad scope of practice. The North American Board of Naturopathic Medical Examiners (NABNE) provides the basic science board exam and the clinical science board exam that most jurisdictions use to license Naturopathic graduates. In order to qualify for Naturopathic licensure in these states, a Naturopathic physician must pass national and state board examinations and must have received an education from an accredited four-year, graduate level, Naturopathic medical school.
Naturopathic Physicians (N.D.'s) are licensed in the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and in the US Territories: Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands; In the Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. In other US and Canadian jurisdictions, a varying scope of naturopathic practice may be permitted or protected by courts decisions, attorney general opinions, or local customs. Efforts to enact licensing laws are underway in several additional states and there are many opportunities for graduates in states, which are not yet licensed.
Scope of Practice… The legal aspects of practicing Naturopathic Medicine vary from state to state in the U.S. and from province to province in Canada. In those states in which Naturopathic Physicians may be licensed as primary care providers, N.D.'s may see patients for general health care and for diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic conditions. Their scope of practice may include, but is not limited to, nutritional science; botanical medicine; naturopathic manipulation; physical medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, mind-body medicine; natural childbirth; minor surgery; prescriptions for natural substances and synthetic immunizations; and all methods of laboratory, x-ray and clinical diagnoses. The state of Arizona offers the widest scope of practice for Naturopathic Physicians in the U.S.
The above information was obtained from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (SCNM) catalog, literature hand-out and also from the American Association of Naturopathic Medical Colleges catalog. To receive these and any additional information, please contact SCNM Admissions office at 480-858-9100 or the American Association of Naturopathic Medical Colleges at www.aanmc.org.
"Is Naturopathic medicine Homeopathy?" Homeopathy is one of the many treatment modalities a Naturopathic Physician is trained in and can potentially utilize when treating patients. There are Naturopathic Physicians who specialize in Homeopathy, therefore it is the only treatment modality they use to treat individuals. However, there are Naturopathic Physicians who do not choose to have one particular specialty and have an eclectic approach to treating individuals. They will incorporate whatever treatment modality in which they were trained in and they feel best suits the individual.
What is homeopathy? Homeopathy is an increasingly popular system of natural medicine, based on the principle that any substance that can cause illness can also be a cure. Two centuries old, its practice has enjoyed wide popularity among millions of individuals looking for safe and effective ways to treat illness, as well as improve their health.
Homeopathy is based on the principle of "like cures like" - that is, if a substance can cause symptoms of disease in a healthy person then it can cure a sick person suffering from similar symptoms. For example, everyone knows that chopping an onion makes your eyes sting and water, and your nose run and burn. A homeopathic preparation of the humble onion, Allium cepa, may be used to cure patients with a cold or hayfever if they too have stinging, watery eyes and a runny, burning nose.
· The Law of Similars: matching the symptoms of a medicine tested on healthy humans to the individual seeking treatment.
· The Minimum Dose: determining the least amount of medicine needed to effect the needed change.
· Totality of Symptoms: matching the complete symptom of the patient to the symptom profile of the remedy.
· Single Remedy: administration of one remedy at a time.
Who practices homeopathy? Homeopathy is practiced by a wide variety of health-care practitioners including medical doctors, osteopaths, naturopathic physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, veterinarians, chiropractors, acupuncturists, nurse midwives, podiatrists, and professional homeopaths.
Individual states regulate the practice of homeopathy, and each state's laws and requirements for practice are different. In most cases, homeopathy can be employed legally by any health professional whose license entitles them to prescribe medicines, such as MD's, DO's, ND's, etc. In addition, three states specifically license the practice of homeopathy for medical and osteopathic physicians: Arizona, Connecticut, and Nevada. Two of these states, Arizona and Nevada, also allow the practice of homeopathy by registered Homeopathic Medical Assistants, under the auspices of a licensed MD or DO.
Since 2000, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and California have adopted legislation that allows unlicensed complementary and alternative health practitioners (including unlicensed homeopaths) the freedom to practice as long as they give full disclosure of their training and background. Efforts are underway in many states to adopt similar legislation, and it is expected that more states will pass such laws in the near future.
To best serve the public in the education of homeopathy, the above information is provided from the 2003 Resource Guide of Homeopathy Today pages 8-9, FAQ's. Permission for use has been granted from the National Center of Homeopathy (NCH). For more information please call NCH toll-free (877) 624-0613, or www.homeopathic.org.
©2003-2010 Denise Duda Dox, N.D., All Rights Reserved.