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Therapeutic tools of a Naturopathic Physician

WHAT ARE THE THERAPEUTIC TOOLS OF A NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIAN?

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In Montana, ND’s can perform physical exams like looking into an ear for an ear infection and listen to a heart with a stethoscope, do well checks, annuals exams, prostate exams, sports physicals and the like.  ND’s can further order and interpret a multitude of labs and order diagnostic imaging such as X-Ray, MRI’s, CT scans, ultrasounds, endoscopies, colonoscopies, DEXA bone scans, mammograms, etc. In Montana, ND’s can prescribe about 80% of prescription pharmaceuticals that are out there such as antibiotics, antifungals, hormones, pain relievers, and even give vaccinations.  ND’s can further perform minor surgery procedures such as removal of warts, moles, cysts, skin tags, and perform tissue biopsies. Major surgery is left to specialists for obvious reasons, and an ND has the medical training to know when pharmacotherapy and surgery is indicated and ND’s don’t shy away from prescription intervention or surgery when they are indeed indicated.

 

In terms of treatment modalities, ND’s have an arsenal of treatment modalities from which to choose.  In some states, this includes prescription medication and they use prescriptions when is it medically appropriate.  However, instead of drugs and surgery (which have their place and value), and ND usually resorts to other interventions. This is what distinguishes an ND from an MD.  

 

Therapeutic Tools of a Naturopathic Physician usually consist of:

 

BOTANICAL MEDICINE:  Plants and herbs have been used as medicine for literally thousands of years and they have a remarkable track record.  Herbs are amazing medicines and they have a totality of pharmacological action, energetic and spiritual aspects. The organic nature of botanical medicines makes them compatible with the body’s own chemistry; hence, they can be effective and gentle with few toxic side effects.  If not used appropriately by a skilled herbalist, some harm may come. Some of the most recognized herbs are: coffee, tobacco, marijuana, coca and the poppy.

 

CLINICAL NUTRITION:  Food used as medicine dates back to Hippocrates, and food as medicine is a cornerstone of naturopathic practice.  ND’s have more clinic and learning hours than a registered dietician, and ND’s are some of the most qualified doctors out there whom can speak to any nutritional or dietary regimen.

 

HOMEOPATHY:  Homeopathy is an energetic form of medicine which has been around for about 100 years, is very well-recognized in Europe, and is based on the principle of “like cures like” to trigger a healing response.  Deep and powerful, homeopathy can issue some profound healing responses.

 

The public often confuses a "homeopath" as being with a "Naturopathic Doctor."  To clarify: ND’s are homeopath’s, but a homeopath is not an ND. Homeopathy is simply one of the tools encompasses by ND for medical use.

 

MINOR SURGERY:  In office minor surgery including stitches, tissue biopsies, and removal of warts, moles, and cysts.  Major surgery is left for specialists for obvious reasons.

 

PHYSICAL MEDICINE:  Therapeutic manipulation of muscles, bones, and spine similar to chiropractic adjustments.  Also: ultrasound, diathermy, exercise, massage, physiotherapy, and hydrotherapy (the alternation of hot and cold to pump blood and eliminate waste).

 

CHINESE/ORIENTAL MEDICINE:  Ancient healing techniques which embrace the “vital force,” including classical herbs, acupuncture, and Chinese medical philosophy.

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL MEDICINE:  Mental attitudes and emotional states may influence and in some instances cause physical illness.  A naturopath has many hours of training to assess and diagnose a persons state of mind, and to treat accordingly.


PHARMACOTHERAPEUTICS:  This is the use of prescription medicine.  In Montana, Naturopath’s have access to about 80% of prescription pharmaceuticals including substances like antibiotics, antifungals, vaccinations, hormones, pain relievers, and other prescription medicines.