Licensed Naturopathic doctors are uniquely trained as general practitioners who specialize in natural medicine for treatment of both acute and chronic disease. In addition to being skilled in the use of pharmaceutical medications, Naturopathic doctors are also well-versed in the use of many alternative therapies. Naturopathic treatment aims for using the least invasive, most physiologically supportive treatments possible for improving and maintaining health.
Naturopathic doctors are educated in the conventional medical sciences, diagnostic techniques and methods, but prefer to treat disease and restore health using therapies from the sciences of clinical nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, exercise therapy, counseling and hydrotherapy. Naturopathic doctors perform nutritional and dietary assessments, physical examinations, gynecological exams and order laboratory and other diagnostic tests. We collaborate with many other branches of the medical sciences, referring patients to practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.
Naturopathic doctors are unique in that they strive to treat the cause of disease rather than just the symptoms, and work alongside patients to educate them and empower them to take control of their own health. The philosophy of Naturopathy differentiates the medicine from conventional medicine and influences how Naturopathic doctors approach each patient.
The goal of Naturopathic treatment is to support the wisdom of the body and to facilitate the body’s ability to heal itself; therefore Naturopathic doctors work in harmony with the body and with nature. Naturopathy utilizes a holistic approach to healing, addressing the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. The core of naturopathic medicine is to treat each person as an individual and to consider his or her whole being. We do not treat one bodily system as separate from the rest of the person’s body and psyche. It is equally important to care for the mind, the body, and the spirit, in whatever ways are the most appropriate for each patient.
Naturopathic doctors must complete a bachelor’s degree with standard premedical prerequisites before attending naturopathic medical school. Naturopathic medical schools provide a 4 to 5 year residential program. The first two years of training include all of the biomedical sciences, while the latter half of the program focuses on clinical skills. Upon completion of the program, naturopathic doctors must pass board examinations and obtain licensure in order to practice. In addition to natural therapeutics, naturopathic doctors are trained in pharmacology and conventional physical exam. Because of this specialized and comprehensive training, naturopathic doctors are experts in drug-herb and drug-nutrient interactions.
In the state of New Hampshire naturopathic doctors are licensed as primary care providers. Naturopathic doctors have the right to prescribe medication, order X-rays and blood work, and perform physical examinations as other doctors do.