More people are seeking out complementary and integrative medicine practitioners to focus on prevention, wellness, and natural approaches to managing illness. Patients are turning to naturopathic doctors for safe and effective guidance. Although naturopathic medicine is becoming increasingly popular, there is a lot of misconception about what it is and how it is practiced. We’ll debunk some naturopathic medicine myths below.
- Naturally safe.
“Natural” doesn’t mean safe. Natural products have negative effects and contraindications. Before commencing therapy, see a licensed naturopathic doctor to ensure it’s safe.
- Naturopaths aren’t primary care doctors.
In most primary care settings across North America, licensed naturopathic doctors are able to treat most outpatient issues. Doctors who specialize in naturopathic medicine treat the entire family, from infants to the elderly, from acute colds and flu to persistent aches and pains.
- NDs are homeopaths.
Homeopaths and naturopaths are different. Naturopathic doctors use homeopathy as one of several instruments in their arsenal. There is a wide range of therapies available, and this is just one example of how they might be utilized.
- Only hippies practice naturopathic medicine.
Patients of naturopathic medicine are as diverse as the rest of us in terms of ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Among the most common illnesses we treat are digestive/GI disorders, nutrition, and women’s health, and our patient group includes people of all faiths, ages, genders, nationalities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Naturopathic doctors provide preventive, customized care. They appreciate the value of preventing disease rather than suppressing symptoms and wish to lead a better lifestyle.
- Naturopathic medicine is for the rich.
Health insurance companies are increasingly covering naturopathic therapy, making it easier for people to get the treatment they need and want. NDs frequently offer sliding fee schedules based on a patient’s income to help them pay for their care. Long-term economic savings and improved life quality from disease prevention justify the upfront outlay for many patients. People that prioritize their well-being realize the benefits of seeing natural medicine practitioners.
- There are two options for you to select from: naturopathic medicine or conventional treatment.
Naturopathic doctors collaborate alongside conventional doctors in academia, clinical settings, and research. Naturopathic doctors practice conventional and integrative medicine. Integrative settings are increasingly seeking NDs. Studies demonstrate that combining conventional and naturopathic care improves health.
- There is no difference between naturopaths and naturopaths.
In places where the naturopathic profession is not regulated, individuals without authorized training may use the title naturopath or naturopathic physician. These persons are not graduates of CNME-recognized four-year programs and do not complete certified program standards.
- Naturopathic doctors are against drugs and pharmaceuticals.
Naturopathic doctors aren’t anti-drug. ND students study medicines, biochemical routes, mechanisms of action, indications, and side effects. NDs examine drug/herb, drug/nutrient interactions as an addition to standard pharmacology. In order to effectively serve their patients, naturopathic doctors must treat each patient as an individual and collaborate with other health care providers. In some cases, prescription drugs may be necessary.
- Naturopathic medicine lacks evidence.
Another widespread fallacy about naturopathic medicine is that it’s not scientific or evidence-based. Naturopathic doctors undergo a four-year, science-based medical education at a Council on Naturopathic Medical Education-accredited or candidate school (the only naturopathic programmatic accreditation agency recognized by the US Secretary of Education). Minimum of two years is spent studying the same biomedical sciences as medical students. When designing treatment regimens for patients, ND students learn to evaluate and analyze the evidence basis. For natural medicine research, ND schools are also among the most innovative in the world.
- You can earn a naturopathic degree online.
We’re often asked if naturopathic medical education can be completed online. Some prerequisites can be taken online, but the degree involves hands-on medical training. Completing an online naturopathic medical degree does not provide license in any jurisdiction that accepts naturopathic doctors. Jurisdictions that regulate naturopathic doctors require a PhD program with clinical training. Online program graduates aren’t qualified to take the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX), which is required for regulation. Accredited naturopathic programs may offer telemedicine and hybrid or online courses, although most training is in-person and hands-on.
So, there you have it. Ten of the most common misconceptions about naturopathic healthcare. As you can see, these treatments are based on scientific principles and are supported by a great deal of research. If you’re curious to learn more about how naturopathic medicine could help you or someone you love, don’t hesitate to call us today for a consultation. We would be happy to discuss your specific health concerns and recommend the best course of treatment for you.
About the Authors
Society’s Voice advocates for Naturopathic treatments for a variety of physical and mental disabilities. Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care that emphasizes prevention and the self-healing process through the use of natural therapies. We know that the efficacy of naturopathic medicine dates back to the 1890s, and are heartened to see naturopathic medicine undergo a rapid increase in public interest in recent years as a result of the growing consumer movement to solve the healthcare puzzle using prevention, wellness and respect for nature’s inherent healing ability.
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