What Is

Naturopathic Medicine?

First, let me say, I am a geek. I mean that in the most complimentary way.  In my quest to become a doctor, I studied with a vengeance. I loved it! The more I learned, the more impassioned I grew. Biology, physiology, biochemistry, physics (my favorite) made sense, reinforced one another, and collectively served as a foundation on which all other information was cultivated. With this knowledge, I learned and now wholeheartedly practice and teach naturopathic medicine. In order to introduce you to this medical art, I want to share its six fundamental principles, so you may understand why a “science geek” like me embraces a form of medicine deeply rooted in tradition. 




The Healing Power of Nature

How amazing is life! As humans we know a lot, but we will never have the intellectual capacity to fully understand the body’s astounding ability to heal itself. As a doctor, my job is to help a patient remove obstacles to this healing process, give the body the nutrition it needs, and get out of the way. This is a blow to a doctor’s ego. You see, when the patient gets better, technically we can’t take credit. Nature is responsible.



The word “doctor” comes from the Latin word “docere” meaning “to teach.” Lifestyle changes are difficult to embrace sometimes. When a patient understands a little bit about how these modifications change the chemistry of the body and improve health, he or she is more likely to follow through. 



When we think of prevention in our culture, we think about taking an aspirin daily, vaccinating our children, and getting mammograms and colonoscopies. These things are important, but the most powerful way of preventing disease is through lifestyle choices. Eighty percent of diseases are directly related to lifestyle. So why are we not discussing lifestyle in eighty percent of our doctor visits? My patients and I do.



This is where we get to the nitty-gritty. Nothing excites the geek in me more than the quest for the root causes of illness.  My goal as a doctor is to help my patients restore health and quality of life. In order to accomplish this, we must remove roadblocks. This task requires great knowledge of physiology, endocrinology, immunology, and a bunch of other “-ologies.” In addition, most holistic practitioners believe true causes of most diseases are chronic inflammation, toxicity, old emotional or physical trauma, hormone/neurotransmitter imbalances, and digestive problems. Not until these underlying issues are addressed can the body truly heal, and until then we are merely managing symptoms. 



I am not a symptom, nor a disease. I am a mother, daughter, sister, doctor, teacher, and friend. (Did I mention I am also a geek?) I have a body, mind, and soul; the health of each is crucial to my overall wellbeing. Do you feel the same way about yourself?



The safety of medicines is something we all worry about. Naturopathic doctors are committed to using safe and effective medicines such as homeopathy, clinical nutrition and herbal medicine. We routinely use the most natural, least toxic medicines first. This less invasive approach may seem simple, but why pull out the big guns when a gentle nudge will do the trick? 

Here is what it takes to become a licensed naturopathic doctor:

After attaining a Bachelor’s degree and taking the usual barrage of undergraduate pre-med courses, licensed naturopathic doctors attend a four year accredited naturopathic medical school. In those four years we undergo a rigorous academic program including all the typical classes you would expect in any medical school environment. In addition, we are educated extensively in clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, Chinese medicine, physical medicine, etc. Our clinical training starts in the second year of school, and continues through the fourth year when we spend many hours working with patients under the supervision of attending physicians. After graduating and taking board exams, many NDs have residencies lasting one to three years. Some NDs practice as primary care providers, others may have an area of specialty.