What is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor?

 

Naturopathic Medical Doctors (NMD) are licensed in the State of Arizona to practice medicine just as allopathic/conventional Medical Doctors (MD) and Doctors of Osteopathy (DO) are licensed. Like MDs and DOs, NMDs must graduate from an accredited postgraduate medical school with training in bio-medical sciences as well as clinical training, and must pass a national board exam.

Naturopathic Medical Doctors are distinguished from their MD and DO counterparts by their treatment philosophy and modalities, which draw on the best features of traditional and modern schools of medicine.

The treatment modalities used by NMDs include natural modalities such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, clinical nutrition, physical manipulation, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, and counseling, as well as modern modalities such as biofeedback, environmental medicine, minor surgery, and judicious application of pharmaceutical interventions.

Like MDs and DOs, and in contrast to Licensed Acupuncturists and Chiropractors, Naturopathic Medical Doctors are licensed in the State of Arizona to act as Primary Care Physicians - the first doctor a patient sees, who is responsible for diagnosing and providing medical care or making appropriate referrals.

The guiding philosophy of naturopathic medicine rests on six principles:

Primum non nocere (first do no harm)
Always choose the least toxic, least invasive treatment available that will achieve healing.

Vis mediatrix naturae (the healing power of nature)
If the physician can help remove obstacles to cure and provide the proper support, then the innate God-given natural healing power that each individual possesses can do the rest.

Tolle causam (discover and treat the cause, not just the effect)
Symptoms are viewed as expressions of the body's natural attempt to heal, rather than as malfunctions to be suppressed. Symptoms are a guide to identifying the underlying cause, which when corrected will allow the vis mediatrix naturae to produce real healing.

Tolle totum (treat the whole person)
The body is a complex system with many interactions between endocrine, metabolic, digestive, structural, mental, emotional, and spiritual components. Imbalances among these interacting subsystems lead to disease. The naturopathic physician seeks to understand the unique dynamics of each individual patient and help the vis mediatrix naturae to restore balance.

Docere (teach the patient)
Healing occurs best when the physician works in partnership with their patients, empowering them share responsibility for their own health through education and motivation.

Pravenir (prevention is the best cure)
As Benjamin Franklin observed, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Naturopathic physicians are preventive medicine specialists.

This philosophy has proven successful in treating many chronic and acute conditions; however other serious conditions such as myocardial infarction and trauma are better treated in a hospital setting using specialized medical technologies not available in the primary care setting.


References

Unless specifically noted above, references used in the construction of this web page include the following:

[FDM] Lecture notes from Functional Medicine University.

[SCNM] Lecture notes from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.

[UT] Lecture notes from the University of Tennessee graduate programs in Chemistry and Biochemistry.


Copyright © 2007-2012 Dr. Weyrich. The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. If you have a health concern or medical condition, consult a licensed healthcare provider. Dr. Weyrich is licensed by the State of Arizona to practice medicine (license number 07-1008).

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