What is Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct medical profession that offers both primary and specialized medical care. Naturopathic medicine can best be described by the education of a naturopathic doctor, modalities used, and approach to treatment.

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What is a Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic doctors are trained in a set of treatment modalities that focus on getting to the root of the patient’s condition. Because of the significant impact of diet on health, naturopaths often use clinical nutrition as a starting point of treatment. From there, naturopaths can use a variety of the other modalities according to their medical judgment and preferences of the patient. Of particular interest to patients with auto-immune conditions is environmental medicine. This modality recognizes the impact of the environment on health in general and the immune system in particular. In treating an environmentally sensitive patient, naturopaths will work to reduce toxic exposure through diet and lifestyle changes, assess toxic body burden, and use treatments that improve the body’s own detoxification function (e.g., GI status, liver function, chelation therapy). Naturopaths also use conventional as well as specialized laboratory testing and are trained in the use of pharmacology and minor surgery when appropriate.

The most significant difference between naturopathic and conventional medicine is in the philosophy of treatment. To a naturopath, the body has an innate ability to heal. 

Naturopathic treatment modalities include:

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