Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine is based on the belief that the human body has an innate healing ability. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) teach their patients to use diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and cutting edge natural therapies to enhance their bodies’ ability to ward off and combat disease. Naturopathic physicians craft comprehensive treatment plans that blend the best of modern medical science and traditional natural medical approaches to not only treat disease, but to also restore health.

Naturopathic physicians base their practice on six timeless principles founded on medical tradition and scientific evidence.

  • Let nature heal. Our bodies have such a powerful, innate instinct for self-healing. By finding and removing the barriers to this self-healing—such as poor diet or unhealthy habits—naturopathic physicians can nurture this process.
  • Identify and treat causes. Naturopathic physicians understand that symptoms will only return unless the root illness is addressed. Rather than cover up symptoms, they seek to find and treat the cause of these symptoms.
  • First, do no harm. Naturopathic physicians follow three precepts to ensure their patients’ safety:
    • Use low-risk procedures and healing compounds—such as dietary supplements, herbal extracts and homeopathy—with few or no side effects.
    • When possible, do not suppress symptoms, which are the body’s efforts to self-heal.
    • Customize each diagnosis and treatment plan to fit each patient.
  • Educate patients. Naturopathic medicine believes that doctors must be educators, as well as physicians. That’s why naturopathic physicians teach their patients how to eat, exercise, relax and nurture themselves physically and emotionally. They also encourage self-responsibility and work closely with each patient.
  • Treat the whole person. We each have a unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, sexual and spiritual makeup. The naturopathic physician knows that all these factors affect our health. That’s why he or she includes them in a carefully tailored treatment strategy.
  • Prevent illness. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” has never been truer. Proactive medicine saves money, pain, misery and lives. That’s why naturopathic physicians evaluate risk factors, heredity and vulnerability to disease.

 [This information was adapted from http://www.naturopathic.org.]

Click to view the AANP Documentary Series:

“Discoveries in Alternative Medicine: Naturopathic Physicians.”

What are some of the clinical reasons people see a naturopathic doctor?

·       Nutrition, weight loss and diabetes

·       Allergies and respiratory illness

·       Immune system support, cold and flu

·       Heart health

·       Digestive health

·       Hormonal imbalances, menopausal and menstrual cycle support

·       Detoxification and environmental toxins

·       Mental health

·       Stress related chronic illness

·       Men’s Health issues

·       Women’s Health issues

·       Adrenal and thyroid concerns

·       Fatigue and chronic pain

Does a Naturopathic Doctor work Collaboratively with my Conventional Doctor? 

Naturopathic doctors cooperate with all other branches of medical science, referring patients to other practitioners for treatment or diagnosis when appropriate. Naturopathic patients continue to visit their primary care and specialist physicians, and integrate naturopathic services to add to their healthcare options. Dr. Furtado does not replace the primary care physician.

What are some of the Naturopathic Services Offered?

Naturopathic doctors are clinically trained in a wide variety of natural therapeutics, such as:

Dietary advice and therapeutic nutrition: use of foods, diet plans, nutritional supplementation.

Herbal Medicine: using botanical substances to stimulate function and wellness, not simply to mask symptoms.

Homeopathic medicine and flower essence therapy: the use of highly dilute quantities of naturally occurring plants, animals and minerals to gently stimulate the body’s healing responses.

Stress management, lifestyle counseling and personal hygiene: diet therapy, promotion of wellness including recommendations for exercise, sleep, stress reduction and balancing of work and social activities, mind-body spirit techniques and basic tools including but not limited to guided imagery, visualization, relaxation response, and breathing exercises.

Hydrotherapy: various water therapies to improve healing and circulation.

Detoxification and heavy metals chelation therapy: targeted use of substances and herbs to remove environmental toxins associated with various chronic diseases and symptoms.

Salivary Hormone Testing: specialized testing panels to assess hormonal imbalances, stress response, and chronic disease risks.

What are the training standards for Naturopathic Doctors?

A licensed naturopathic doctor attends a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school and is educated in the same basic and clinical sciences common to all medical education, but also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness.

Naturopathic medical schools have admission requirements and coursework comparable to those of conventional medical schools. Throughout the four to five years, there is also training in naturopathic therapeutics, including botanical medicine, therapeutic nutrition, counseling, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, physical medicine and other therapies.

The accrediting agency for naturopathic medical schools in the United States is the Council on Naturopathic Medical School Education (CNME). There are currently 4 accredited naturopathic medical schools in the United States: (links)

What are the licensing requirements for Naturopathic Doctors?

Currently, 17 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands have licensing or regulation laws for naturopathic doctors. The states that currently have licensing laws for naturopathic physicians are:

Alaska District of Columbia Maine Utah
Arizona Hawaii Montana Vermont
California Idaho New Hampshire Washington
Connecticut Kansas Oregon U.S. Territories: Puerto Rico & Virgin Islands

 

In these locations, NDs are required to graduate from a four-year residential naturopathic medical school and pass extensive post-doctoral board exams to receive a license.

The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) supports legislation to license NDs in all states. AANP membership is limited to individuals who are eligible for licensing in states which issues licenses, have graduated from a recognized school and completed board exams.

In states that do not offer licensing, some people use the title “ND” or “Naturopath” who have not had training from accredited schools, who do not hold any recognized license and who would not qualify for licensure. These individuals may have taken brief correspondence courses, short seminars, or attended schools that give credit for life experience but which do not require clinical training. Such degrees are not recognized by the CNME.

Many naturopathic doctors hold a license from another state to demonstrate to the public that they have attained the high level of training and rigorous testing required by the states who do license the naturopathic profession.

Dr. Furtado holds a license from District of Columbia, and is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. This provides accountability for you of her training and continuing education. At this time, there is no naturopathic licensing available in Delaware for naturopathic doctors.

What can I expect at a Naturopathic Appointment?

Clients are seen by appointment only.  First time visits last approximately one and a half hours.  During that session, a detailed history of your main health concerns, including a nutrition, sleep and lifestyle discussion is held.  Treatment plans are based on the treatment goals we set together during this session.  Subsequent visits last approximately one hour, and are scheduled as needed for follow up care. Initial follow-ups are suggested to be in two-month intervals, and as treatment goals are met, we graduate to an as needed basis.

Will Insurance Cover Naturopathic Medicine?

At present, some health insurance plans only cover naturopathic medicine in licensed states, of which DE is not included. The good news is that the concept of health care is changing due to consumer demand, allowing complementary and alternative approaches to be covered more and more. Check your policy for current coverage and monitor it for changes.  One may also check about using Health Savings Accounts for naturopathic services. We will be happy to provide appropriate forms for insurance.