What is a Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathy evolved out of the eclectic movement at the end of the 1800s when the main cause of death was fatal fevers and infections. The eclectics were a group of medical doctors  who brought European herbal traditions to New England. Combined with native American herbal remedies, these doctors did more for fevers than the practice of bleeding and toxic chemical (mercury) treatments of the 1800s. 

By the early 1900s, there were numerous naturopathic medical schools focusing on diet, herbal and homeopathic medicines. The advent of antibiotics placed the focus on drugs rather than traditional medicines. By the 1950s, most states had eliminated ND licensing except for Oregon and Washington. With the increasing number of sometimes fatal side effects from pharmaceuticals, the number of naturopathic medical schools is increasing in both the USA and Canada with NDs now fully licensed as family physicians in 14 states mostly on both coasts, Alaska and Hawaii. 

Naturopathic medical philosophy focus on the inherent Power of Nature to Heal and To Do No Harm. Studies in the past showed that 80% of the time, patients healed on their own. That may no longer be the case given the dramatic rise in chronic illness in the US such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer related to poor diet, lifestyle, environmental pollution and increasing life span. Naturopathic medicines such as herbs, homeopathy and nutritional supplements have lower levels of patient reaction and are frequently validated by on-going scientific studies. Naturopathy is now a combination of evidence-based scientific medicine and traditional remedies that have worked for decades. 

Naturopathic doctors who graduate from accredited medical schools are licensed family physicians trained to diagnose, order standard laboratory testing, more cutting edge genetic and saliva hormone testing,  and prescribe natural medicines in tandem with pharmaceutical drugs with knowledge of side effects of each. Naturopathic doctors are also trained in physical manipulation similar to chiropractors and minor surgery. 

As an ND, my goal is to reduce the number of drugs you’re prescribed through the addition of dietary counseling, herbs, homeopathy and/or nutritional supplements as they are more conducive to improving health as opposed to suppressing symptoms. However, there are times when drugs and synthetic hormones work well for patients so I will work in concert with these prescriptions. As NDs, we are also trained to refer to acupuncturists, psychotherapists, chiropractors, physical therapists, medical specialists and other providers when needed.

The goal is to achieve YOUR BEST HEALTH AND WELL-BEING.

- Dr. Scott