What is Naturopathy?
Described by the World Naturopathy Association, Naturopathy is a system of healthcare with a deep history of traditional philosophies and practices, medically trained practitioners and a breadth of natural treatment options to serve patients. Naturopathic medicine is a distinct health care profession that combines the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are trained as primary care providers who diagnose, treat and manage patients with acute and chronic conditions, while addressing disease and dysfunction at the level of body, mind and spirit.
NDs concentrate on whole patient wellness through health promotion and disease prevention, while addressing the underlying cause of the patient’s condition. Naturopathic physicians care for patients of all ages and genders, and practice in settings ranging from private clinics to integrative medical centers, urgent care clinics and hospitals.
The origin of naturopathic medicine as an organized profession in North America dates to European doctors in the 1600s and 1700s who incorporated herbal medicine and traditional therapies and ultimately their legacy made its way here. Modern-day naturopathic medicine also emphatically embraces multicultural holistic practices that are integral to so many countries and cultures across the globe. Additionally, ND programs work hand-in-hand with leading research institutions to grow the body of evidence supporting natural therapies.
6 naturopathic principles
- Do No Harm
- Healing Power of Nature
- Identify and Treat the Cause
- Treat The Whole Person
- Doctor as Teacher
- Prevention and Health Promotion
- Clinical Nutrition
- Botanical Medicine (Herbalism)
- Homeopathic Medicine
- Traditional Chinese Medicine / Acupuncture
- Physical Medicine
- Hydrotherapy – Water Cure
- Prevention and Lifestyle Counselling
- Hygiene Therapy
- Nature Cure
… And many more not listed above
Reasons to Use Naturopathic Care
Information taken from American Association for Naturopathic Physicians
- Decreases Prescription Drug Costs
Naturopathic physicians typically prescribe botanical or nutritional supplements to effectively care for medical problems rather than expensive prescription drugs. Patients who received intensive lifestyle modification and naturopathic therapy in just one year for type II diabetes improved all health scores (lipid levels, body fat percentage, etc.) and decreased medication requirements compared to those on standard therapy.(10) Integrative medicine users in two studies reported significantly lower prescription drug use of 48% and 61%, respectively.
- Reduces Expensive Ongoing Care
By addressing the causes of disease, naturopathic physicians reduce the need for repeated, expensive and often ineffective symptomatic treatment. A study published in JAMA found that patients of integrative medicine providers were significantly more likely to have obtained common preventive services, including pap smears, cholesterol testing, influenza immunizations, and breast exams.A recent study found that patients receiving one year of care under the supervision of a naturopathic doctor experienced a 3.1% reduction in 10-year CVD event risk compared to patients receiving conventional care. They were also 16.9% less likely to have developed metabolic syndrome.This resulted in significant savings to society of $1,138 per patient and to employers of $1,167.
- Reduce Insurance Costs
Studies of insurance costs provide strong evidence that including naturopathic physicians saves money. One study of special note demonstrates that the majority of patient visits to naturopathic physicians are in lieu of – not in addition to – conventional medical care. Studies have found that per visit expenditures to integrative medicine providers cost only 52% as much as for conventional outpatient care and that annual health care expenditures for insured integrative medicine users in Washington State were $356 less than for non-integrative medicine users. An internal Blue Shield study in King County, WA estimated that a naturopathic-centered managed care program could cut the costs of chronic and stress related illness by up to 40% and lower costs of specialist utilization by 30%.