What is naturopathic medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is dedicated to the study and celebration of nature’s healing powers. It as old as healing itself and as new as today’s medical breakthroughs. It is a dynamic philosophy as well as a profession that recognizes the interconnection and interdependence of all living things. It utilizes the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies to treat illness and to promote wellness by viewing the body as an integrated whole.
Naturopathic medicine is defined by principles rather than by methods or modalities. Above all, it honors the body’s innate wisdom to heal.
Where and how is naturopathic medicine regulated?
Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct primary health care profession in North America (22 US states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, five Canadian provinces), Europe (Germany, Portugal, Switzerland), Asia (India), Latin America (Brazil, Chile) and Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa) that combines the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science.
The Council on Naturopathic Medical Examiners (CNME) is the regulating body that accredits doctoral programs in naturopathic medicine in the U.S. and Canada that meet or exceed their educational standards. The CNME is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit doctoral programs in naturopathic medicine.
The CNME’s in-depth accreditation process promotes high-quality naturopathic education and training, and safe and effective medical practice. These educational standards provide the basis for licensing/regulating naturopathic doctors in the U.S. and Canada.
The CNME does not accredit online or distance education programs.
What kind of training do naturopathic physicians have?
Naturopathic physicians (NDs) are required to graduate from a four-year, residential naturopathic medical school and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX, or Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations) in order to receive a license to practice medicine.
These doctoral programs emphasize the use of natural modalities—such as nutrition, lifestyle counseling and botanical medicine—in maintaining wellness and treating illness. The comprehensive program of study also includes coursework in the biomedical and clinical sciences, similar to what is studied in DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine), DC (Doctor of Chiropratic) and MD (Doctor of Medicine) programs, as well as hands-on clinical training.
To obtain (and retain) an active license, naturopathic physicians must fulfill state- or province-mandated continuing education requirements annually. Licensed doctors have a specific scope of practice defined by the law in their state or province.
What to naturopathic physicians do?
Naturopathic physicians blend centuries-old knowledge of mind-body medicine and natural, nontoxic therapies with current advances in the understanding of health, human physiology and modern diagnostic techniques. Doctors trained in this system of medicine cover the range of family and primary care, from preconception and pediatrics to geriatrics.
Naturopathic physicians are trained to concentrate on whole patient wellness through health promotion and disease prevention, attempting to find the underlying cause of the patient’s condition (not simply stop a symptom) and support the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health.
Where are you, Karin Taylor Wu, licensed?
I hold an active license to practice naturopathic medicine in the state of Oregon (USA).
Which modalities do you use?
I combine recommendations for breath work, nutrition, movement, and sleep habits with natural therapies (including but not limited to: BioMat therapy, body centered awareness, craniosacral therapy, essential oils, flower essences, herbal medicines, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, infoceuticals, mindfulness and meditation) into individualized, earth-friendly health plans targeted towards addressing the root cause of pain or dysfunction, revitalizing the body, balancing the mind, and uplifting the spirit.
What kinds of conditions can you help with?
Here is a brief list of the most common things people come seeking help for:
- Immune system support
- Sleep issues
- Low Energy
- Digestion issues, food allergies / intolerances, weight issues
- Acute or chronic pain
- Mood, stress, anxiety
- Hormonal imbalances, including fertility/infertility
- Detox, fasting
The 6 Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
First, Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)
Preference is always given to non-invasive treatments that minimize the risk of harmful side effects, always taking into account your short and long term health goals.
The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)
The body has intrinsic wisdom to heal itself, ward off disease and maintain homeostasis. Symptoms are your body’s intelligent expressions, communicating which body systems are in need of support.
Identity and Treat the Cause (Tolle Causam)
Most illness is the result of long-standing dysfunction. To achieve true healing, we must search for and attend to the deepest roots of imbalance.
Doctor as Teacher (Docere)
The doctor holds responsibility to educate, encourage and empower each individual to make daily choices congruent with health and well-being.
Treat the Whole (Tolle Totum)
The body is an intricate system of physical, emotional and spiritual interconnections, each of which must be addressed in your journey towards optimal health.
Preventive medicine centers around the affects of our daily choices on our health, the health of our communities, and the health of our planet.
Let food be thy medicine*