Naturopathic medicine can make a substantial difference
not only in the lives of patients, but also
businesses, communities and practitioners.
Why businesses and communities should consider
- Naturopathic medicine works. Four studies of Canadian Postal Workers show that naturopathic medicine has a better outcome than conventional medicine for anxiety, cardiovascular disease, chronic low back pain, and rotator cuff injuries. Naturopathic medicine addressed not only the original health problem but demonstrated general improvement in patient well-being.
- Naturopathic medicine is cost effective. A Washington claims study showed that it reduces inpatient and imaging insurance claims for common problems such back pain, fibromyalgia and menopausal symptoms. The Canadian Postal Worker cardiovascular and chronic low back pain studies also demonstrated reduced sick days away from work, as well as fewer low-production days.
- Naturopathic doctors teach genuine prevention to their patients and the public. What is commonly promoted as prevention in conventional medicine is early intervention, not prevention (e.g. mammograms and other screenings). Teaching self care and lifestyle changes are significant parts of naturopathic medicine with lifelong potential. Naturopathic care is in line with the proverb: “Give a man a fish and he eats for one day; but teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”
- A 2005 University of Montana study of rural North Dakota seniors indicated that 1 in 4 have been self-prescribing natural health care products based on direct marketing or other non-professional recommendations. A do-it-yourself approach only works if the patient has the correct diagnosis and the correct natural treatment recommendation. Evaluation and treatment recommendations by a medical expert in natural health care are especially important for anyone on prescription medications. Two-thirds of those surveyed indicated at least one significant health problem; one-third indicated 2 or more significant health problems.
- A 1998 malpractice insurance claims study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that alternative practitioners have fewer malpractice claims than MD’s. When claims do occur, the injuries are less serious.
- Natural treatments are often less expensive than prescription drugs. For example, online a one month supply of Prozac for depression is approximately $39-81 depending on dose, whereas a one month supply of pharmaceutical-grade 5-HTP is $19-54, depending on dose and supplier.
- Natural treatments can often be tailored to the individual, making compliance easier. For example, naturopaths can create individual botanical formulas that address more than one health problem. Botanicals can be taken in tea, extract or pill form, depending on patient need.
See the Links page to find the research articles referenced above.
Why pre-med students should consider
- Naturopathic medicine offers a wider array of tools in a doctor’s tool kit: botanical medicine, counseling, homeopathy, nutrition/supplements and a wide assortment of physical medicine techniques, in addition to standard drugs and surgical techniques.
- Naturopathic doctors get to spend more time evaluating and educating their patients, allowing time to sort out and address the underlying causes of complicated health problems. Naturopathic doctors have the opportunity to evaluate the whole person. Many patients are seeing multiple specialists and CAM providers, sometimes with conflicting prescription drug regimens or conflicting treatment recommendations.
- Naturopathic doctors often get the satisfaction of solving medical mysteries, restoring health to someone with long term problems, or providing relief to someone suffering from a terminal illness.
- 35-50% of American adults use some type of alternative health care for their health concerns. The use of alternative care increases as a person’s education and income increases. Conventional medical schools do not teach natural health care. MD’s must either pursue post-grad integrative fellowships or try to find legitimate CME’s. Even with fellowships and CME’s, the exposure to natural medicine is significantly limited compared to a 4 year naturopathic medical school curriculum.
- Like other doctors, Naturopathic doctors can choose general practice or a specialty practice.
- Naturopathic medical schools often offer dual-degree options, such as an acupuncture, health psychology, midwifery, or nutrition master’s degree.
- Naturopathic medical schools are generally family-friendly. Some programs allow students to stretch their 4 years into 5 or 6 years to accommodate family life or dual degree programs. Some offer child care options.