What Is a Naturopath?


A naturopath is a health care provider who follows the tenets of naturopathy, a form of alternative medicine that involves holistic practices and a great deal of preventative care. A naturopath typically takes a comprehensive view of of the human body, and there is a great emphasis on the body’s ability to heal itself. While a naturopath physician does not provide medication or major surgery, he or she is instrumental when it comes to creating good health through the creation of positive forces both inside and outside the body.

Naturopaths are common throughout North America, and they may be found in community health centers, in clinics and hospitals and in private practices. Individuals who refer to themselves as naturopathic physicians may have a wide range of experience and training. In some areas, to be called a naturopathic physician requires a full medical degree as well as membership in a monitoring organization like the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners. In other areas, a naturopath is simply an individual who is experienced with dispensing holistic treatments. Before deciding whether or not you want to go to a certain naturopath, make sure that you know what the regulations are like in your area and what you want from the experience.

A naturopath is a good choice for any non-emergency medical care, and you will find that most naturopaths are skilled with families as well as individual cares. Some of the common issues that are treated by naturopaths include chronic pain, respiratory problems, heart disease, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. As mentioned above, naturopaths do not perform major surgery, but there are many who are qualified to perform minor operations like cyst removal.

Choosing to go to a naturopath rather than a regular doctor means that the first visit is quite involved. He or she will want to get your full history, in addition to learning more about your life. You may be asked about what you eat, how often you exercise, what your stress level is like and whether your drink or smoke. There may be some diagnostic tests ordered and there is typically some form of examination. Because this type of health care is requires a full understanding of who you are and how your body functions, there are no quick fixes. Conventional medical practices often involve simply offering a person a pill or a regimen that they need to stick to. With a naturopath, you’ll find that you are in a situation where you need to spend a fair amount of time understanding your body and what is actually happening.

There are many different treatments which a naturopath might recommend. Changes in lifestyle and diet are very common, as are herbal treatments. In some cases, the naturopath may also be invested in other alternative medicines as well, like acupuncture and homeopathy. Depending on a patient’s needs, a naturopath may also recommend a follow-up with a medical doctor or with a counselor.

If you are curious to see if a naturopath is for you, make sure that you interview several and get recommendations; it is always a good idea to find a health professional that you agree with!