Common Myths About Naturopathic Doctors

COMMON MYTHS ABOUT NATUROPATHS 

A large percentage of today's population is becoming more health conscious when it comes to prevention, wellness, and natural approaches to managing illness by expanding their healthcare options in an all-natural world. Even with the movement of natural medicine growing everyday, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the role of the Naturopathic doctors and the practice using natural medicine. Here are a few common myths about Naturopathy

#1 Naturopathic doctors are anti-drug/anti-pharmaceuticals.

Naturopathic doctors are not anti-drug/anti-pharmaceuticals. ND curriculem includes the study of pharmaceuticals as well as the biochemical pathway and mechanisms of actions, indications, and adverse effects of drugs. As an addendum to conventional pharmacology, NDs study the intersection and efficiency of conventional medications with supplements and herbs. The job of a naturpathic doctor is to treat the individual, meet them where they are, and work as part of the health care team for the best interest of the their patient. Prescription medications can be part of this process.

#2 You need to choose between naturopathic medicine and conventional medicine

Naturopathic physicians are an integral component of the health care team and work alongside conventional physicians in academia, clinical settings, and research. Naturopathic doctors provide patient care based on a foundation of conventional and integrative medicine. As such there is a growing demand for NDs in integrative settings. Studies have also shown that by adding naturopathic care to conventional care patients have better overall health. 

#3 Naturopathic doctors are not trained as primary doctors

Board certified naturopathic doctors work in primary care settings across North America and are able to manage most of the outpatient concerns typically seen in primary care practices. Naturopathic doctors learn to treat all aspects of family health and wellness, from pediatric to geriatric, acute colds and flus, to chronic aches and pains, autoimmune diseases, and cancer. 

#4 Naturopaths and naturopathic doctors are the same

In jurisdictions that do not regulate the naturopathic profession, individuals without accredited training sometimes use the title naturopath or naturopathic doctor. They should not be confused with NDs who have studied for, and passed their board certification exam.

#5 Naturopathic doctors are the same as homeopaths

Naturopathic doctors and homeopaths are not the same. In addition to being trained in all the naturopath ways, naturopathic doctors are also trained in homeopathic medicine. It is one of many tools available in the naturopathic tool belt.

#6 I can get an ND degree online

A common question asked is, "can I earn my naturopathic degree online?" The answer is no. Graduating from an online naturopathic medical program does not confer eligibilty for licensure as a naturopathic doctor in any jurisdiction that formally recognizes NDs. Jurisdictions that regulate naturopathic doctors require completion of an accredited, in-residence, doctoral level program that includes hands-on, supervised, clinical training. Board certification is imperative to prescribe natural medications to patients. 

#7 Just because it's natural, it must be safe

Just because it's "natural" does not necessarily mean it's safe. Natural products may have side effects and contradictions. It is important to consult with a board certified naturopathic doctors before beginning treatment to ensure what you are taking is appropriate. 

#8 Naturopathic medicine is only for hippies

Naturopathic medical patients are as diverse as our general population. The top conditions treated include digestive/GI disorders, nutrition, cancer, woman's health, autoimmune diseases, among others, and the patient base spans all beliefs, genders, ethnicities and socioeconmics categories. Patients who value preventive, individualized medicine choose naturopathic doctors. They recognize the important in preventing disease rather than supressing their symptoms, and want to lead a healthier lifestyle, taking an active role managing their health. 

#9 Not scientific/evidence based

Another common myth about naturopath medicine is that it is not science/evidence based. Regulated naturopathic doctors go through a rigourous 4 year science-based medical education at accredited or candidate schools. A minimum of two years is spent studying the same biomedical sciences that prepare medical students to be doctors. ND students learn to appraise and weigh the research evidence based as a part of developing patient treatment plans. ND shcools are also leaders in developing primary research in natural medicine.

Author
Dr. Borislava Johnson, N.D.

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