Naturopathic physicians are graduates of 4-year naturopathic medical schools that train them in the same basic medical sciences and clinical subjects that medical doctors study. However, while M.D. training emphasizes pharmacological drugs and surgery, naturopathic physicians are trained in less invasive methods of nutritional, herbal and homeopathic medicine, as well as physical medicine procedures such as acupuncture, hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, manual therapy and manipulation, and counseling therapy. At the same time, however, they are able to prescribe most drugs as needed.
Usually, patients are surprised on their first consultation with their naturopathic physician at the fact that as much as 90 minutes of face-to-face time is spent, as opposed to the usual 5-15 minutes spent on a medical doctor visit. The naturopathic physician takes the time to take a very complete medical history, do a physical exam and explain a complete treatment plan. This may involve body chemistry testing beyond the basic blood test, including complete panels of thyroid, adrenal and other hormone function, minerals and toxic heavy metals, food allergens, and infection factors. Such tests would reveal underlying factors maintaining chronic health conditions, and the naturopathic physician is concerned above all with the cause and not just the symptoms of the disease. The ultimate goal in gathering health information is to design, with the aid of the computer, a complete, individual Prescription Food Plan, enabling the patient to work on health and prevent serious disease by using the food as medicine.
Treatment options in the natural therapy clinic start with an anti-inflammatory or cleansing diet, accompanied by an alkaline, anti-oxidant type of water, as well as nutritional and botanical supplements. Usually, results are enhanced and accelerated by physical or energy therapy, including acupuncture, and often a European medical spa-style detoxification program. Conditions treated include all types of pain and injury, fatigue, allergy, overweight condition, depression and anxiety, hormone imbalances, digestive disorders, women’s and children’s disorders, blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, nervous system conditions, and infertility.