Naturopathic medicine, also known as naturopathy, is a form of medicine that focuses on natural remedies and the body’s ability to heal itself. It encompasses a wide range of treatment practices, typically focusing on herbal medicine, nutrition, and lifestyle counseling. Naturopathic medicine aims to treat the underlying cause of illness, rather than just the symptoms, and stresses the importance of prevention and self-care.
One of the key principles of naturopathic medicine is the belief in the healing power of nature. This is called the “Vis Medicatrix Naturae.” Naturopaths believe that the body has an innate ability to heal itself if given the correct resources. And, by supporting this natural healing process, individuals can achieve optimal health. This is in contrast to conventional (or “allopathic”) medicine, which often focuses on treating symptoms with pharmaceutical drugs.
Naturopathic doctors (NDs) undergo extensive training, similar to that of conventional medical doctors, but with an additional focus on natural therapies. They complete a four-year graduate level program at an accredited naturopathic medical school, where they study anatomy, physiology, pathology, and clinical diagnosis. After graduation, they must pass a licensing exam to practice naturopathic medicine, and many complete a residency program.
One of the key modalities used in naturopathic medicine is herbal medicine. Thousands of articles and studies in peer-reviewed medical journals support the effectiveness of herbal medicine. Herbs can be used to strengthen the immune system, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and support various hormone pathways. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, herbal remedies are often gentler on the body and have fewer side effects.
Nutrition is another fundamental aspect of naturopathic medicine. NDs recognize the importance of a healthy diet in maintaining good health and preventing disease. But, furthermore, they work with patient to help define what a “healthy diet” is for them. They can prescribe a specific diet, help create meal plans, and coach patients on how to stick with dietary changes.
In addition to these modalities, naturopathic medicine also emphasizes the importance of lifestyle counseling. NDs work with individuals to identify and address lifestyle factors that may be contributing to their health concerns. This could include stress management techniques, exercise recommendations, and strategies for improving sleep quality. Naturopathic doctors are experts at recommending lifestyle changes that are foundations for optimal health.
Overall, naturopathic medicine offers a holistic approach to health and wellness. It combines the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science to provide a comprehensive and individualized approach to healthcare. By focusing on the underlying causes of illness and promoting natural healing, naturopathic medicine can help individuals achieve optimal health and well-being.
The past 40 years have seen an extraordinary increase in consumer demand for high-quality natural health care. Naturopathic medicine has emerged as the health-care profession best suited to meet this demand. Although it almost disappeared in the mid-twentieth century because of the popularity of drugs and surgery, naturopathic medicine offers safe, effective natural therapies as a vital part of the health-care systems of North America in the twenty-first century.
The United States Congress has recognized the value of naturopathic medicine in providing safe, effective, and affordable health care. Colorado law allows naturopathic doctors to evaluate, diagnose, and treat injury and disease. Minds in Motion is proud to be integrating this holistic approach right here in Steamboat Springs.