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Natural Medicine is the Best Medicine: Starting the discussion...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Starting the discussion...

Glad to hear I have some questions! I really want to do justice to the questions, so bear with me if it takes a while to fully answer them.

Here's a good one:

You talk about allopathic medicine though you don't mention osteopathic medicine... you describe natural medicine as often times I hear osteopathic medicine described. How are they the same? Different?

Can a naturopathic doctor admit a patient to a hospital? Can they write orders in a hospital?

Tom MD

In this blog I generally I lump Osteopathic and Allopathic medicine in the same category, even though they are not the same. There is a much longer story regarding the roots of osteopathic medicine and the divergence of the profession from the historical osteopathy. It is my understanding that many osteopaths do not practice consistent with historical osteopathy. However, that is not my story to tell...if there is a well versed osteopath out there who would like to tell that story, I will let them tell it.

(I realize that people who are not familiar with the history of osteopathic medicine are really confused at this point. Go ahead and google the history of osteopathic medicine and see what comes up. I'll wait...)

Perhaps this is a good time to talk about the philosophy of naturopathic medicine. Naturopathic medicine isn't defined by what we do, but rather what we think. Naturopathic physicians guide their practice by the use of our philosophical principles. These principles include:

1) First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)
2) Utilize the Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)
3) Treat the Cause (Tolle Causam)
4) Treat the Whole (Tolle Totem)
5) Doctor as Teacher (Docere)
6) Prevention (Preventare)

These six principles are what guide the practice of all naturopathic physicians. It is my understanding that these six principles are unique to the philosophy of naturopathic medicine, unlike allopathic and osteopathic medicine (though many physicians utilize these principles without being aware of it!).

Tom, I realize I may not be answering your question fully. Please feel free to respond. I don't want to speak for osteopathic physicians, however, because that is not my specialty.

At this point in time there are very few naturopathic physicians who have hospital admitting privileges. I am not sure if that will change in the future, it is entirely possible. That said, I don't think that naturopathic physicians are necessarily appropriate for the care of patients who are in an acute state, since the focus of our education is really primary care (not emergency medicine!). I just wish our patients had access to some of the life-saving natural products that are available elsewhere in the world (like injectable milk thistle for amanita mushroom poisoning!).

... In future posts I think I will try to flesh out some of those philosophical principles a little more clearly, so if they don't make sense yet, just hang in there.


At May 27, 2010 at 12:13 PM , Blogger Tom said...

Here's another question that I have for you. You mention that you feel that ND's would be a perfect fit for filling the void of primary care doctors. We are seeing the increase use of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants to supplement MDs and DO's. They make the argument that they can spend more time with patients. They often times cost less. Do you feel this is in competition with ND's or even allopathic doctors?

Another side note on this. Many Nurses are starting to get doctorates in nursing and want to be called doctor. Talk about muddying the waters even more. The term doctor tends to be over used and the general public has no clue the difference.


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