Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine (also known as naturopathy, or natural medicine) is a complementary and alternative medicine which emphasizes the body's innate ability to heal and maintain itself. Naturopathic practice includes many different modalities and practitioners emphasize a holistic approach to patient care, and may recommend patients use conventional medicine alongside their treatments. Naturopathy has its origins in the Nature Cure movement of Europe. It is practiced in many countries but subject to different standards of regulation and levels of acceptance. Naturopathic doctors who are trained at an accredited North American school are entitled to use the designation ND or NMD which is legally protected in fifteen US states and four Canadian provinces. Naturopaths elsewhere may use these designation regardless of level of education or may use BSc, BHSc, BNat, or Dip.Nat, or have no formal training at all, and recognition of qualifications varies.

Naturopaths prefer to use natural remedies such as herbs and foods rather than surgery or synthetic drugs. Graduates of a naturopathic medical school in North America are trained to use diagnostic tests such as imaging and blood tests before deciding upon the full course of treatment. If the patient does not respond to these treatments, they are generally referred to physicians who utilize standard medical care to treat the disease or condition. Scope of practice for Naturopathic doctors varies widely amongst jurisdictions.

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