Licensed naturopathic doctors undergo 4 years of rigorous graduate level training at accredited naturopathic medical schools, including extensive clinical work, which equips them to serve as the perfect bridge between conventional and alternative medicine and to serve as primary care doctors in states where NDs are licensed as such. The training includes the ordering, interpretation and use of labs and imaging as well as many of the other basics you would expect from medical doctors including well woman exams and yearly physicals. NDs also learn botanical medicine, physical medicine (both bone manipulation and soft tissue work), nutrition, IV therapy, homeopathic medicine, hydrotherapy, psychology, minor surgery, and basic pharmaceutical medicine. Many seek additional training in other alternative modalities. Scope of practice varies from state to state, including status as primary care. (Please note that Colorado does not license NDs as primary care physicians. This means that practices such as well woman exams, minor surgery, IV therapy, and pharmaceutical medicine are beyond Dr. Eno’s scope of practice.)
Like your conventional MD, an ND is trained and qualified to make conventional diagnosis and it is their obligation to do so. But, in addition to labeling your symptoms with a conventional diagnosis, an ND looks at underlying patterns and causes. Their training helps them to look at such things as constitutional type and organ system analysis. This helps them to individualize treatment plans and really get at the root cause.
Although there are six tenets of naturopathic medicine guiding all NDs, they are an eclectic group with equally unique practice styles and philosophies. It is important to choose a doctor whose approach resonates with you.
The tenets of naturopathic medicine are:
The healing power of nature–vis medicatrix naturae
This first tenets honors your body’s wisdom and ability to heal itself. The practitioner’s role is to augment this power with proper guidance, advice and care.
Identify and treat the cause–tolle causam
When symptoms become noticeable, the body has been out of balance for some time. It is important to understand how the body originally became out of balance. The answer is not always straightforward or simple. Continually asking “Why?” is of utmost importance.
First do no harm– primum no nocere
This is a tenet common to all healers. Many systems of medicine choose to focus on symptoms or quick fixes and indeed this is what we have come to expect. It is important to realize that this actually can cause harm and should be avoided. All therapies should be focused on creating long term, sustainable wellness.
Treat the whole person–in perturbato animo sicut in corpore sanitas esse non potest
Optimal health is about more than the physical body. Our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being are integral. In addition, we recognize that all systems are connected and should be treated as such when diagnosing and treating patients.
The physician as teacher– docere
Health is not about what you take, it is about what you do. Naturopathic appointments include time for teaching patients to understand their current state of health and how they may have gotten there as well as how to create a lifestyle and habits that are conducive to optimal health. We teach, guide, coach and empower our patients through their journey to wellness.
Prevention– principiis obsta: sero medicina curatur
Preventive medicine is the best medicine. Because of our unique focus on creating health rather than simply combating an already present disease. We optimize physiology so that pathology cannot exist. Naturopathic medicine is truly preventive medicine.
For more information about Naturopathic Medicine, please visit AANMC.