What Is Naturopathic Medicine?

naturopathic medicine, naturopathy, naturopathic doctors, naturopathic practitioners, naturopathy definition

Dr. Doni talks about naturopathic medicine and its many benefits, including how it works together with conventional medicine.

Your body is an amazing thing. It has all sorts of built-in protections, including the ability to heal itself.

Naturopathic medicine supports your body in the healing process. Just like conventional medicine, it uses science and medical research to understand the body. But as a rule, naturopathic medicine tends to go a step further, seeking to find the underlying cause of a health issue – and how one health issue relates to another within your body.

When we know the root cause of a chronic health issue, including how it affects multiple systems in the body, we can use naturopathy to help your body use its own natural processes to heal itself.

What Is Naturopathy?

Naturopathy – healing with nature – has existed for hundreds years, and likely longer. It’s focused on using all sorts of natural approaches to give your body what it needs to maintain health, or get back to health. These natural approaches include nutrition and healthy eating, vitamins, herbs and natural supplements (including enzymes and probiotics), bio-identical hormones, homeopathy, mindfulness healing and exercise, and even the use of water, temperature (heat and cold) and physical medicine (naturopathic methods of addressing musculoskeletal issues), as well as nature itself.

Each patient’s situation is different, which is one of the reasons I enjoy what I do so much. Working together with a patient, we seek to understand exactly what’s causing a particular issue – and then apply naturopathic treatments. Though it’s all very scientific, it requires a lot of empathy as well. Naturopathic doctors aim to educate and empower patients to understand their body and what it needs.

There is no doubt that naturopathy is leading the way in changing medicine and the role of a health practitioner, which I believe to be a very positive improvement.

Is Naturopathy Safe?

Naturopathic Physicians complete a graduate-level doctorate degree at federally-accredited naturopathic medical programs and sit for national board exams. We are required to pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) to receive our license. Naturopathic residencies are privately funded, and so are limited in number. I completed a residency at Bastyr University in 2001, and recently created a CNME approved naturopathic residency in my practice to help train future Naturopathic Doctors (NDs).

We are trained at the highest level of science and medicine to understand disease processes and what bodies need to be healthy, mind, body and spirit. We are also trained in drug-herb and drug-nutrient interactions, and are the foremost experts in this area.

Naturopathic Physicians are experts in the safe and effective use of natural therapies, as well as primary care providers. And yet only 17 states (not including New York), license the profession and in only some states does insurance cover naturopathic care.

Why Is Naturopathy Not Readily Available?

Given the countless successes I’ve witnessed – and helped with first-hand – this question still perplexes me.

Ever since I moved to New York in 2001, I’ve worked to bring awareness to naturopathic medicine. I led the effort to license NDs as president, executive director and legislative director of the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians for over ten years (and am still a board member of the NYANP). And I established Naturopathic Awareness Week in New York seven years ago, which is now nationally recognized as Naturopathic Medicine Week.

I continue to share my passion for the benefits of naturopathic medicine with my patients, and with everyone who visits my website and reads my books and weekly newsletter because I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to understand their bodies and to benefit from naturopathy, just as I have – and just as my patients have, too.

Week after week, I hear from patients whose lives have improved after working together and applying naturopathic treatments, such as:

  • Looking at the body’s response to stresses of all types – infections, toxins, emotional stress, and other traumas.
  • Taking steps to reduce oxidative stress in the body, and stress on the adrenal glands too.
  • Avoiding foods that cause inflammation and lead to leaky gut.
  • Making better choices about choosing toxin-free products.

Naturopathic Medicine vs. Conventional Medicine

Let me be very clear that naturopathic medicine is not in exclusion of other forms of medicine. Often, they can work hand in hand. For instance, conventional medicine is still the best option for acute illnesses and emergencies.

Naturopathic medicine works best in these two situations:

  • Chronic illnesses and day-to-day maladies, because it works to address the root cause of the problem.
  • Maintaining optimal health by supporting your body’s immune system so that it’s well prepared to fight off the next cold or flu – or whatever else comes its way.
  • Conventional medicine, for all its benefits, tends to treat the symptoms – not the root causes. In other words, the issue will keep coming back, over and over again. If you’ve ever heard, “it’s all in your head,” or “there’s nothing we can do about this,” then you know what I mean.

    We can do better. We can learn which environmental factors, foods, and lifestyle choices are stressing our bodies, and then make choices that can potentially shift our health, even with our individual genetic tendencies.

    In this way, we can reduce the need for medications and chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, autoimmunity, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and anxiety.

    Getting Access to Naturopathic Care

    Naturopathic Medicine is all about finding individual solutions, restoring good health, and optimizing your body’s ability to take care of itself.

    Please do share with others how you have benefited from naturopathic medicine in the comments below, and tell your legislators (New York residents use this link) that you want access to naturopathic medicine in your particular state, and for veterans through the Veterans Health Administration.

    And to find an naturopathic doctor in your area, go to

    –Dr. Doni
    10th October 2016

    For Practitioners

    2016 Naturopathic Medicine Week

    The 4th Annual U.S. Naturopathic Medicine Week (October 10-16, 2016) is a prime opportunity to showcase the value of what you do with patients, prospective patients, reporters, and community leaders through a variety of creative activities, events, and messages. Click here to learn more about what you can do to promote the benefits of what you do professionally in your own practice.

    Read more here::


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