Column: What Kind Of Doctor Are You Again?

April 4, 2016

Dr Amani 400 pixels[Written by Dr. Amani Flood, N.D.]

I’m a Naturopathic Doctor.  Yes, it can be a bit of a tongue-twister to pronounce, and even harder to understand exactly what it is that we do.  But I never get tired of trying to explain, so please read on.

First, a blurb from our professional association website:

“Naturopathic doctors combine the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science. Steeped in traditional healing methods, principles and practices naturopathic medicine focuses on holistic protocols that minimize the risk of harm and help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health.”

So there you go.  But now you’re saying, “Can you repeat that, this time in English please?”

OK, in plain language, Naturopathic Doctors are qualified by 4-5 years of post-graduate studies in medicine.  Like medical doctors we are trained in all the medical sciences and in the diagnosis of disease.  Unlike medical doctors we are not trained in major surgery or internal medicine.  Instead we learn herbal medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic and how to prescribe the many hundreds of natural formulations for various conditions.  We are specially trained in diet and nutritional supplements, and how to use these in the treatment of disease and for prevention of disease.  After the successful conclusion of studies we sit for a comprehensive standardized board exam which we have to pass in order to become licensed.  This extensive medical training and licensure sets us apart from other certificated health practitioners.

Naturopathic doctors work in private practices, hospitals, clinics and community health centers.  We are primary care physicians in some states, or often we work as part of an integrated medical team such as I do at Northshore Medical Center.   We can treat or co-manage common diseases like diabetes, obesity, digestive disorders, infertility, fibromyalgia, migraines, ADHD, anxiety, insomnia and more.  We are health advocates and health educators.  We develop and manage corporate wellness and community outreach programmes. We offer education in nutrition and lifestyle for people with chronic conditions like heart disease, asthma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and autoimmune disorders, helping them to live a better quality of life and often prolong their life or in some instances, helping them achieve remission.

By teaching people how to help themselves through advice on diet, nutrition and healthy lifestyle practices, you can see that Naturopathic Doctors play a critical role in healthcare by relieving pain and suffering, while also easing the burden on hospitals, health insurance and government healthcare schemes.

The scope of practice of Naturopathic Doctors is wide and diverse.  Learn more at www.aanp.org.  You or someone you know may even want to enter this very emotionally rewarding career.

This article is written for informational purposes only by Certified Medical Professionals at the Northshore Medical and Aesthetics Center [NMAC]. It is not for use to diagnose or treat any condition that you may have. Always consult with you doctor.

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