Naturopathic medicine combines ancient wisdom with modern science. It utilizes a philosophy based on 5 basic principles.
- The Healing Power of Nature. Unless there are final cell/tissue death or genetic abnormalities, the body has the incredible ability to heal itself. The job of the naturopath is to find and treat the mechanisms that prevent healing.
- First do no Harm. As any other physician, any treatment must add to health, not create toxic side effects.
- Treat the whole person. Although one organ or system may seem to be out of balance, that organ does not function in isolation. A skin ailment may be a reaction to intestinal inflammation or an immune reaction. Instead of treating one organ that seems to be out of balance, naturopaths seek to treat each person as the complex individual they are.
- Treat the cause of disease. Symptoms are the reaction to an underlying issue. Discovering and treating the cause of disease alleviates symptoms and provides the opportunity to treat the whole person.
- Prevent disease. Preventing a disease is cheaper and easier than treating a complex disease.
- Teach patients how to take care of themselves. Part of treatment is helping people understand how to prevent disease and thus live a healthier life. Patient empowerment is part of the naturopathic philosophy.
Naturopathic Education – CNME is the highest standard.
There are 5 US and 2 Canadian accredited naturopathic medical schools recognized by the US Department of Education (www.cnme.org). These schools are also accredited by the same regional accreditation agencies that accredit state schools such as Boise State University. These schools require undergraduate degrees and science pre-requisites prior to enrollment. Students are required to take over 4,000 hours in the classroom and clinical rotations. Passing the national board basic science exams are required prior to the privilege of participating in supervised clinical rotations. All licensed states require graduation from one of these accredited programs AND passing grades on a 3-day national board exam (www.nabne.org). Graduates of these programs are eligible to practice as primary care physicians in many of the states that license naturopathic doctors (www.naturopathic.org).
Dr. Sara Rodgers graduated from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, a CNME accredited school.
A note on Idaho’s 1959 Smith Decision.
A 1959 Idaho Supreme Court decision allows anyone to call themselves a naturopathic doctor (ND) regardless of training. Because of this legal decision, Idaho has numerous ND’s who have not undergone the rigorous training provided by the 4-year accredited naturopathic schools. Unlike CNME-trained naturopaths, these ND’s lack the accredited training and competency evaluation to be considered primary care physicians in states that license naturopathic physicians.
In Idaho, naturopathic care is considered the practice of natural health care services. It is legal to provide natural health care services according to Idaho Statute 54-1804(j) as long as a practitioner does not practice medicine and they disclose they are not a MD or DO.