Wise Heart Good Health
I first got into Holistic Health as a teenager when I discovered the wonders of yoga, meditation and super foods. While I spent years self-educating and tossing vitamins, herbal supplements and super foods, down the hatch, it was my own hatch, a hatch that I had a deep understanding of. I never considered Naturopathy because as far as I knew they were all self-educated. I wasn’t comfortable taking someone else’s health into my own hands without having a solid (read "formal") education and so I twisted my health conscious hatch in dismay and set the thought aside.
One day while surfing the net, I stumbled across the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. Whoa! I thought. Accreditation? Licensure?! This sounds like an actual degree. The more I read, the more I came to understand what exactly a Naturopathic Physician is and how they differ from a Traditional Naturopath. I learned that the field of Naturopathy is not new, rather that it is a re-emerging field. So, what is the difference between a Naturopathic Physician and a Traditional Naturopath?
A Naturopathic Physician serves as a primary care provider in the states where they are licensed. These doctors treat anything from the common cold, strep throat, pink eye to more serious conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease. An ND can specialize if they’d like. Some of the areas an ND may choose to specialize include but are not limited to Women’s Health/Infertility/Prenatal care, Chronic Degenerative disorders, Psychology, and optimal living. A Naturopathic Physician has completed an accredited degree program, passed the NPLEX and has been officially recognized by the state in which they graduated. A Traditional Naturopath has not.
A Traditional Naturopath is self-educated and is not a licensed healthcare provider. The quality of care one can expect from a Traditional Naturopath varies greatly as it relies on their dedication to the field, the resources they have used to teach themselves, their own personal philosophy. In other words, you may find someone who is scientifically minded, sought out reliable resources and studies and can provide good information. Or you may find a conspiracy theorist who rejects scientific thought all together and swears that an intravenous injection of ground up fung dung root, and bafugafuh is the ultimate cure for what ails ya. So how does one forgo the conspiracy theory route for a more scientific well-rounded education?
There are currently 7 accredited Naturopathy Schools in the North America, five in the United States. These are 4-5 year graduate level programs. I found a graph on http://www.aanmc.org that compares the Naturopathic Medicine curriculum at Bastyr University to the Medical School Curriculum at the University of Washington. Both are well respected within their respective fields and, as a side note, are currently working in conjunction with each other to conduct clinical trials for complementary and alternative medicines.
So it all seems great! I will be well-educated, but why not just be and MD? Wouldn’t it be easier? If all states don’t offer licenses, where will I practice? Please stay tuned for my upcoming blogs:
Divided Lagacy Twentieth Century Medicine