Naturopathic medicine may sound trendy but is a holistic practice with roots in some of the oldest medical traditions found in the world. For anyone in chronic pain or dealing with fatigue, working with a naturopath provides exceptional results without invasive procedures or prescriptions. For the mom in Dallas struggling with keeping up with her kids’ schedule or the Aumsville computer programmer struggling to alleviate chronic pain, a naturopath is the perfect prescription.
Naturopathic medicine is a primary health care practice that combines art, science, philosophy and preventative practices to help patients obtain the highest-quality lifestyles. The goal of naturopathic physicians is to restore optimal body function and keep it there by conditioning the body to restore itself.
Understanding the Basics of Naturopathic Medicine
Getting the most out of any health program starts with understanding what the program is designed to do and how that aligns with your overall health goals. The customization of any wellness program is critical to resolving the unique needs of any patient.
What Is a Naturopath
A naturopath is someone who believes in the body’s innate ability to heal itself and wants to serve as a guide to patients. He reviews a patient’s lifestyle choices and how they affect overall health and performance. A naturopath has completed specific courses on medical concepts, nutritional choices and lifestyle balance to help people feel better.
Even though a naturopath is not a licensed designation, most naturopaths work as board certified chiropractors or massage therapists, work through continuing education and coordinate health plans with medical professionals. A naturopath does have the ability to continue on towards licensing as a medical doctor or naturopathic doctor.
What is a Naturopathic Doctor
A naturopathic doctor is a primary care physician licensed to practice naturopathic medicine. They have either obtained completed an MD (medical doctor) or an ND (naturopathic doctor) program dependent on if the state regulates naturopathic medicine.
Oregon regulates naturopathic medicine. A naturopathic doctor practicing in Salem, West Salem, Dallas, Monmouth or Aumsville has satisfied the naturopath Salem, Oregon board requirements for licensure.
Education requirements for a naturopathic doctor include a bachelor of science degree and completion of continuing education through an accredited national college of naturopathic medicine. The standardized curriculum consists of 4,100 hours of coursework in biomedical sciences, as required for a medical doctor, in addition to studies in mental health, nutrition, and herbal medicine. Required clinical training includes 1,200 hours of hands-on training under the direct supervision of a licensed naturopathic physician.
After completing clinical training the final step is to obtain a naturopathic board certified license. An Oregon board-certified naturopathic physician is a primary care physician licensed to practice naturopathic medicine according to the six principles identified by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education.
The 6 Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
There are many reasons to consider seeing a naturopathic physician but if you aren’t familiar with what they do, you may be wondering what the real benefits are. Consider these six principles of naturopathic medicine to discover how it fits into a holistic balance and wellness program.
First Do No Harm
Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.
A naturopathic doctor’s holistic approach focuses on natural remedies that do no harm meaning it limits side effects that other medical modalities such as prescription medicines have. Herbal medicines treat the root cause of the illness while minimizing side effects. Physical naturopathic medicine includes gentle and non-invasive therapies.
Identify and Treat the Causes
Look beyond symptoms to the underlying cause.
Symptoms of pain or illness are the body’s way of telling us something is wrong. The naturopathic way is to determine what is causing harm and resolve it using a holistic approach. The naturopath is not just hearing that you have a stomach ache and giving you medicine, but considering allergies, diet, or medical conditions causing the problem.
The Healing Power of Nature
Trust in the body’s inherent ability to heal itself.
The human body has been healing itself since the dawn of time. It is instinctual as much as a newborn knows how to latch on to mom’s breast and suckle. The goal of naturopathic treatment is to recognize, trust, and facilitate that ability. If we can return to our natural state of health and wellness we restore the natural ability to heal ourselves.
Doctor as Teacher
Educate patients in the steps to achieve and maintain health.
Ongoing dedication to wellness is a process that involves educating patients on how to optimize health and wellness in daily activities. Patients are taught the importance of a healthy lifestyle, empowered to achieve it, and motivated to continue their pursuit. Minor changes in diet, sleep or exercise can have major impacts on health and life enjoyment.
Treat the Whole Person
View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions.
A person is not their ailment. In treating a patient as a person first, a medical need second, the treatment plan can be customized to optimize the best chance of health and wellness for each patient. This means addressing back pain may also reduce symptoms of depression or fatigue as the patient returns to a more normal lifestyle and daily activities.
Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.
Naturopathic medicine focuses on returning to our optimal state of health and wellness. When nutritional reserves are restored, mental health issues are managed, and the spiritual well-being is grown we restore the body to health and wellness. In its healthiest state, the body is properly equipped to avoid disease and heal most conditions.
Conditions Treated by Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic medicine can be used to treat nearly any condition existing in the medical and health fields. The idea of improving well-being and restoring the body’s ability to heal is beneficial for all that humans experience in regards to health.
Chronic conditions are some of the most common issues bringing people to a naturopathic doctor. High blood pressure, ADHD, pain, chronic disease, and fatigue are all ongoing conditions without an identifiable single root cause. Prescription medicines offer temporary relief of the symptoms but did not resolve the pain, inflammation, exhaustion, digestive issues, or disease.
Holistic healing remains a preferred treatment method for anyone concerned with the residual effects of pharmaceutical use. A holistic health approach improves the physical, spiritual and mental health of the overall system and allowing nature to heal that which we do not understand.
Naturopathic medicine includes the following treatments to promote health and wellness:
A naturopathic physician will assess intake of macro (fats, carbohydrates, and protein) and micro (vitamins and minerals) nutrients. The results of the assessment will be considered in respect to the needs of the whole person. The treatment plan will be based on how specific physical, spiritual, mental, and environmental needs can be met while improving nutritional intake.
Naturopathic education involves increasing understanding as to what steps to take in the pursuit of a holistic lifestyle. The doctor will discuss the principles of what mental, spiritual, nutritional, and physical health looks like and will customize a plan to make a positive lifestyle change.
Lifestyle education can include how to adopt a more positive attitude, adopt enjoyable exercise routines, increase time spent outdoors, learn stress relief techniques, establish healthy bedtime routines, and other techniques to increase overall health and wellness.
Naturopathic doctors spend more than 130 hours in a classroom learning about herbal medications, how they can be used to effectively support wellness, and what interactions can occur. Many herbs have the same healing properties that prescriptions have without side effects caused by synthetic production.
Ancient Chinese medicine establishes that there is a life force flowing through everyone. It consists of two equal but opposite forces, the yin and the yang. As the life force flows through channels, called meridians, imbalances in life lead to disrupted energy-force balance. Acupuncture aims to rebalance the yin and the yang by accessing the meridians with tiny needles inserted in any of 350 specified points of access.
Prolotherapy theory is that the joint will respond to the irritant by growing additional connective tissue leading to reduced pain. Naturopaths introduce an irritant, often a sugar solution, by injecting into a joint where pain exists. This is a slower, but long-term therapy to dealing with degenerative issues in joints.
IV Chelation Therapy
Heavy metals are a part of daily life and can accumulate in the bloodstream. The naturopath uses a binding agent introduced to the bloodstream through an IV. Heavy metals bind to the agent and flushed out of the system in urination. This helps to detoxify the body and restore the body to a natural metabolic rate.
Spinal alignment is key to the brain being able to properly communicate with the body. Chiropractic care offers adjustments to keep the body properly aligned and communication pathways open. Board certified chiropractors use hands-on therapy to alleviate muscle imbalances to restore proper mind-body communication.
Dopamine and serotonin are natural chemicals in the body related to happiness and pleasure. Cortisol is a natural chemical related to stress that causes damage to the brain and neurons. Massage increases dopamine/serotonin levels and decreases cortisol resulting in less anxiety and stress.
Make the Call and Book an Appointment
Finding the right solution once you have decided on naturopathic medicine is about finding the right doctor. The solution that will work for you is the solution that works for you. Dr. John-Paul Whitmire’s Chiropractic and Wellness Clinic in Salem, Oregon offers comprehensive wellness programs that include massage, chiropractic care, acupuncture and naturopathic medicine.
The first appointment with a naturopathic physician at Whitmire clinic will be a bit longer than one with a traditional medical doctor and subsequent visits. The naturopathic physician is there to hear your story. The more information you provide, the more customized the treatment plan is designed to achieve your best health possible.
This is the best experience I have had with a chiropractor. The doctor explained everything he was doing very thoroughly and professionally and helped me to understand why I was experiencing certain aches and pains and how I could alleviate those using massage and stretching techniques on my own. I felt comfortable and safe in this clean and friendly environment and will definitely be back for weekly follow up! I already feel so much better after my first appointment today. Highly recommend Dr. Whitmire and is team at the clinic!
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