Naturopathic Medicine Week is October 7-13th
I am a naturopathic doctor.
I represent a community of approximately 4400 practicing physicians in the United States. We may be small in number, but what we lack in size we make up for in a passion and commitment to the philosophies we took an oath to honor: that our bodies’ have an inherent wisdom of how to be well and our primary job as a doctor is to remove barriers to health in order to honor this ability, that at our core we are teachers and in order to truly cure, we must empower our patients to become active participants in their healing process, and that treating symptoms is not the end game, but merely clues to identify and treat the causes of disease.
When you’re small it’s often hard to be seen. That’s why the recently passed Senate Resolution 211, establishing this week, October 7-13th, as national Naturopathic Medicine Week is such a big deal.
From the authors of the resolution,
“…naturopathic medicine provides noninvasive, holistic treatments that support the inherent self-healing capacity of the human body and encourage self-responsibility in health care”
They go on to state,
“That the Senate recognize the value of naturopathic medicine in providing safe, effective, and affordable health care; and encourage the people of the United States to learn about naturopathic medicine and the role that naturopathic physicians play in preventing chronic and debilitating illnesses and conditions.”
Awareness about what naturopathic medicine has to offer couldn’t come at a better time. As a society, we’re really, really sick. Two-thirds of us are overweight or obese, leaving us at risk for the development of serious diseases such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis and depression. 88 million of us have high blood pressure and 25 million have insulin resistant diabetes. A full 75% of our national health care costs are focused on these chronic, yet largely preventable, diseases.
Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are specialists of diet and lifestyle-based treatments and it’s exactly these treatments that are proven to be the most effective medicine for the prevention and treatment of these chronic illnesses. We receive an average of 70 hours of nutrition education and an additional 130 hours of training in therapeutic diets compared to an average of just 19 hours of basic nutrition education in conventional medical programs. We look at the physical, emotional, environmental and social influences and approach each patient as the unique person that they are, using the least invasive (and often less expensive) treatment possible. In addition, we tend to set up shop where we’re needed most, a full 50 percent of us work with underserved populations.
I believe naturopathic medicine is an essential part of the solution to our health care crisis. We are a medicine that is changing medicine and it’s for this reason that I am celebrating Naturopathic Medicine Week. To learn more about naturopathic medicine and find a naturopathic physician near you, please visit our national association, The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.