Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct healing art that combines the use of nature’s wisdom with the rigours of modern science.
It is not simply the application of evidence-based herbs, food, and therapies, but the main goal is to build health through investigating and treating the root cause of the imbalance. It involves the use of natural treatments and substances that will facilitate the body’s own inherent abilities to heal and restore balance.
What training is involved for a licensed Naturopathic Doctor?
There are only a few accredited schools that provide intensive medical training to become a Naturopathic Doctor (ND). Applicants to accredited Naturopathic Medical colleges in the United States need a Bachelor’s Degree and a competitive GPA in science prerequisites, just like applicants to “conventional” medical schools.
After admission, the course work of the first two years of naturopathic and “conventional” medical school is comparable, both in subject matter and in the number of hours in training. We learn all the basic medical sciences such as anatomy, pathology, and biochemistry, including all the “ology” series including pharmacology, neurology, gynecology, and gastroenterology. We learn to use the same labs, physical exams, and medical imaging (X-ray, CT, MRI) that hospitals and clinics utilize to diagnose disease and monitor health.
The following three years involves intensive study of naturopathic therapeutics involving Botanical Medicine, Functional Medicine, Clinical Nutrition and Supplements, Homeopathy, Hydrotherapy, spinal and visceral manipulation, Craniosacral Therapy, and other modalities of physical therapy.
Naturopathic Doctors are experts at looking at herb-drug interaction, and interpretation of research literature to help make appropriate treatment decisions.
In cases where there is a need to wean off medication (when purpose is not served or instances where the patient prefers to consider other routes), we can bridge the gap by educating patients by providing other options, so they can make their own informed choices. Naturopathic Doctors have in-depth training in pharmacology of drugs and can effectively support the system during this process.
One of the six principles of Naturopathic Medicine is – To treat the root cause and go to a huge extent to find the cause of illness.
This may involve physical exams, extensive testing through regular conventional diagnostic and non-conventional tests called functional laboratory testing. Functional lab tests can aid in finding the root cause, where modern tests may fail. These include comprehensive stool analysis, MTHFR genetic testing, Lyme, food sensitivity tests, and heavy screen.
Our treatments are advised based on the therapeutic order where laying the basic foundations of healthy living is the first step. Use of higher force interventions such as specific nutrients, herbs, and Homeopathy are selected depending on the condition and severity. A referral to other specialists is done, whenever necessary.
What conditions do Naturopathic Doctors treat?
Naturopathic Medicine treats all forms of health concerns, from pediatric to geriatric, from irritated systems to chronic illness, and from the physical to the psychological.
Most commonly –
- Disease prevention and health promotion strategies
- Symptoms that have been unable to be resolved by medical practitioners, such as chronic, pain, fatigue, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, etc
- Alternative treatments for illness or for the improvement of the quality of life for those with serious and life-threatening illness.
We appreciate that our patients are much more than their physical components and we consider overall spiritual and emotional aspects, thereby providing healthcare in its true sense. Every individual is unique and different, with his own values and priorities and as NDs, we believe that our healthcare should reflect that.
What is the difference between a Naturopath and a Naturopathic Doctor?
These terms are very confusing and are often used interchangeably. Naturopathic Doctors go through a rigorous six to eight years of medical training to become a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor.
A Naturopath may have an extensive background of information and years of experience treating patients without the formal training in Naturopathic Medicine. Others may have only attended a weekend workshop. Your medical doctor may also call himself a Naturopath if he uses alternative modalities with patients. The difference lies mostly in the extent of training – and its regulation through licensing – in naturopathic philosophies, approach, and treatments that sets Naturopathic Doctors apart from others.
Is there a difference between a Naturopathic Doctor and a Homeopath?
Naturopathic Doctors learn several modalities during their training, such as Botanical Medicine, counselling, nutrition, and Homeopathy. Homeopaths focus on one modality – Homeopathic remedies. Although both attempt to stimulate the innate healing of the body, Naturopathic Doctors have more tools to use in combination along with Homeopathy.
Dr Radhika Kamat ND is a US-certified and board-licensed Naturopathic Physician. She received her Doctoral degree in Naturopathic Medicine from the reputed Bastyr University, WA, USA, one among the few medical schools in the country that offers specialized training in Conventional and Alternative Medicine. She also earned her Bachelor’s degree in Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in India.
Her mission is to provide Compassionate, Committed and Comprehensive Naturopathic Care that integrates best of Natural medicine treatments with conventional and functional Lab testing.
Dr Kamat is currently based in Singapore and sees her patients at the Osteopathic Treatment Centre located at Tanglin Shopping Centre.