With its beginnings in the early 1800's, Naturopathic Medicine has undergone many renditions throughout it's history. What hasn't changed is the foundation of our medicine. Naturopathic Doctors practice in a way that focuses on holistic and proactive prevention as well as comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. Today's practice is guided by ancient wisdom and modern, scientific and empirical methods.
Our Six Guiding Principals
1. The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae): The body has inherent wisdom that is powerful. Naturopaths work to uncover obstacles to healing and facilitate the bodies natural healing ability.
2. Identify and treat the cause (Tolle Causam): Although symptom management is necessary sometimes, our primary goals is to find out the root cause of illness.. Our goal is to eliminate the underlying cause of the symptoms instead of just suppressing or controlling them.
3. First do no harm (Primum Non Nocere): While this is a principal that guides all medical practitioners, Naturopaths focus on using methods of treatment which will decrease the risk of harmful side effects, using the lowest dose necessary.
4. Doctor as teacher (Docere): Naturopaths desire to help you understand how to be an advocate for your own health. We are able to accomplish this through longer appointment times which allow for more discussion time and education.
5. Treat the whole person: You are not just your stomach ache, your skin rash or your sleep difficulties. Your body operates as a whole, so we look at you as a whole. We take into account you physical, mental, emotional, environmental, social and other factors, because these all influence your health.
6. Prevention: This might be the key to it all. There are amazing things we can do to be proactive in our health. It is our job as one of your doctors to teach you about these things and to guide you in the appropriate interventions to prevent illness before it has a chance to start.
Expanding on the second Naturopathic Principal, symptoms are a sign of what is going on in your body, not a single thing that needs to be treated. Each of the systems in the body are all connected and influence another. For example, if you are not sleeping well, you may experience weight gain, a depressed or anxious mood. If you are eating foods you are sensitive too you may develop skin rashes, digestive upset and headaches. They are all related. Naturopathic medicine is all about putting the pieces of the puzzle together to achieve the best health possible.
Common Complaints that NDs See in Practice
Fatigue - Wired but Tired
Weight Gain or Loss
Sleep Trouble - Including falling and staying asleep
Depressed or Anxious Mood
Dry Skin or Rashes
Sensitivity to your Environment
Digestive Issues - Including gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea
Naturopathic Doctors attend 4 years of graduate level medical school following a traditional undergraduate degree. The Naturopathic and Medical Doctor education is very similar for the first two years, studying all of the same basic sciences including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, microbiology, and immunology and to name a few. After the first two years our education begins to differ. Naturopaths also study physical medicine (similar to chiropractors), botanical medicine, nutrition, and homeopathy. Combined with traditional treatment modalities such as minor surgery and pharmacology we are uniquely trained to treat a variety of illnesses.
Naturopathic Doctors are currently licensed or regulated in 22 states (as of June 2019) with varying scope of practice. Some states licensed NDs as primary care physicians while others have a more limited scope of practice. Megan Little, ND is licensed in the state of Kansas, where NDs are licensed as doctors, however do not have a full scope of practice, like a primary care provider and are not licensed as such. The state of Missouri does not recognize NDs as doctors and therefore they are not permitted to diagnose, treat or bill insurance.
If you are curious why I decided to leave private practice as a Naturopathic Doctor, follow this link for a blog post describing the why behind my transition.