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What's the Deal With: Naturopathic Doctors?

What's the Deal With: Naturopathic Doctors?

I'm sure you've also used natural remedies to heal yourself. Peppermint tea or ginger for a tummy ache, aloe for a burn, and tea tree oil for poison ivy or acne. These remedies all come from Naturopathic medicine, which is based on the healing power of nature. It is often used in conjunction with conventional medicine.

Naturopathic doctors (also called Naturopaths) seek to improve their patient's health, treat illness, and prevent disease with natural methods that support the body's own healing abilities. Naturopaths also help their patients make lifestyle changes (through diet and exercise) that are necessary for the best possible health.

These doctors have a holistic approach, which means they care for the whole person - body, mind and spirit. They don't just treat the symptoms of illness, they try to figure out what's causing those symptoms in the first place. For example, if you were to have stomach pains every time you ate, instead of taking Pepto Bismol after every meal, a Naturopath may have you go on an elimination diet, to see if a certain food was to blame.

Naturopaths prefer not to use invasive surgery or most synthetic drugs, but rather use different forms of natural medicine to treat and prevent disease. These methods include acupuncture, homeopathy, nutrition, aromatherapy, counseling, herbal medicine and massage therapy.

Fit's Tips: If you are thinking about going to see a Naturopath make sure that they are licensed, and that they graduated from an accredited university. Also check to see if your state has licensing laws that govern the practice of Naturopaths. To locate a qualified Naturopath in your area, contact the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) at 206-298-0125. Or visit their website at www.naturopathic.org.

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