What is Traditional Naturopathy?
There are two kinds of naturopathy, traditional and licensed. We teach traditional naturopathy via our online learning portal.
A traditional naturopath, or certified holistic health practitioner, is someone who knows all about alternative and complementary medicine which include numerous healing modalities that doctors of conventional medicine are not taught in medical school.
This is to be expected because conventional medicine is not holistic medicine and they are two entirely different disciplines. Conventional medicine can not be underestimated. That’s where we get acute care for emergency situations, but it is not spectacular at treating chronic disease or prevention, as it were.
The field of conventional medicine has pioneered the creation of an immense library organizing symptomology into disease conditions, or pathology, which defines states of homeostasis, or lack thereof.
This is nice because it takes a lot of guess work out, and although imperfect, provides a starting place for the holistic health practitioner to begin research for their client if they are unfamiliar with the condition. This helps you as practitioner put together an overall health picture —or map.
This map will include sources of stress, as we keep an eye out for toxic relationships which contribute to stress and disease. It will include nutrition, sleep, fitness —and will also include testing you require from your clients. Many holistic health practitioners have their favorite tests and test providers. They require their clients to take these tests so they can help ascertain root causes.
Whether the holistic practitioner is familiar or not with the issues the client faces —diagnosis can be a good starting point. While it’s true that we don’t want to put people ‘in a box’ and they can not be defined by a diagnosis, it does provide some factual information.
Holistic health practitioners often work as patient advocates with a client’s primary care doctor and other medical specialists. When you combine alternative medicine, such as naturopathy, with conventional medicine, it becomes complementary medicine.
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Doctors of conventional medicine can be holistic but generally focus on treating and abating symptomology through prescription use of pharmaceuticals. They also order testing and put together symptoms to determine diagnoses. They are also like sleuths a lot of the time.
I think the chief difference is treating symptoms and diagnosing diseases vs. a focus on defining homeostasis and eliminating, or managing, root causes with naturopathy, herbalism, nutrition, and spiritual medicine.
Conventional medical doctors are taught to diagnose conditions through testing and treat symptoms via pharmacology (prescribing) —whereas the holistic health practitioner will put their knowledge, experience, and sleuthing together to determine root causes.
Diet and exercise may also be indicated occasionally by a conventional medical doctor, but usually no herbs or spiritual medicine, unless they are a doctor of functional medicine.
Doctors of functional medicine are sort of a path, a direction, or an ideological take on the evolution of conventional medicine.
They are the licensed physicians of conventional medicine who dare to look beyond the scope of AMA (American Medical Association) “approved” med school curriculum —with it’s outdated iodine theory, etc.
Such brave souls —unafraid to break out of the ‘status quo’ and think for themselves and their patients.
Generally speaking nurses and nurse practitioners take more nutrition hours than licensed physicians. Crazy, right?
And yet, we see everywhere ‘please consult your doctor before changing your diet, etc’. This is because some diets can interfere with prescription drugs.
They want you to check for contraindications of pharmaceutical drugs. This makes sense. The doctor knows his medicine —or pharma.
They can usually tell if there will be contraindications with a new diet or if it will affect you negatively in terms of a serious condition.
When it comes to what to eat, or what diets are being used to prevent and reverse cancers, or the study of traditional and non-traditional diets across the globe, the doctor knows not.
They only take 2-4 hours of nutrition, depending on where they attend med school.
That is considered a generous guestimate, as many med schools require only 1 or 3 hours of nutrition. Need we say that this nutritional education is also woefully outdated, overall.
Additionally, they are taught outdated iodine theory from the 1950s, which is tragic, to say the least.
However, our traditional naturopaths continually study and keep up with current trends in evidence-based natural medicine, including becoming fully iodine-literate, whereas doctors of conventional medicine do not and are not.
While modern medicine is life saving by providing acute, emergency care, it’s not seeking root causes or integrating the whole person in pursuit of ideal health.
Nor do most licensed medical professionals study oxygen medicine, spa therapy, or naturopathic oncology.
This is why traditional naturopaths (specifically) are so important to the fabric of our healthcare system. Students of traditional naturopathy learn about healing modalities that differentiate them even from licensed naturopathic physicians, who also do not generally study iodine theory.
And while conventional medicine is great for acute, emergency care and licensed naturopathic physicians are good at integrating modern medicine with things like acupuncture, neither study the plethora of therapies that a traditional naturopath utilizes.
The traditional naturopath, on the other hand, fills in the missing pieces, such as a more full spectrum of nutrition, supplementation, and iodine-literacy. We fill the void that both of the previous groups leave behind.
This is why we often work with doctors of functional medicine who also stay current and up to date on the latest trends in evidence-based natural medicine.
Like a doctor of functional medicine, we almost always seek genetic testing, blood work, and various labs from our clients, but we don’t treat, diagnose, or prescribe. Instead, we used this information to tell a story and solve the riddle of the root cause.
Ideally, the client comes to us with conventional lab testing and diagnosis in place to provide a starting point.
Sometimes we will be in touch with the clients medical providers to make sure there are no contraindications.
We act as patient advocate, health coach, and represent the bridge between natural, holistic medicine and conventional, modern medicine.
Graduates may use the title of DTN for Doctor of Traditional Naturopathy, TND for Traditional Naturopath or Traditional Naturopathic Doctor, and lastly, CHHP for Certified Holistic Health Practitioner.
Graduates of all programs are provided with paperwork to use in their practice, including a checklist of modalities for their clients.
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