Naturopathic practice includes the use of any medicinal substances that contain elements which are components of bodily tissues, or can be utilized by the body for the maintenance of life and the repair of tissues. The current scope of practice in Oregon includes minor surgery techniques. “Scope of practice” is specifically defined by legislation in the various states and provinces that license or regulate naturopathic medicine, and practice varies significantly among states, provinces and countries.
Many plant substances are powerful medicines. Where isolated chemically derived drugs may address only a single problem, botanical medicines are able to address a variety of problems simultaneously. When properly administered, most botanical medicines can be applied effectively with minimal chance of side effects.
Food is the best medicine and is a cornerstone of naturopathic practice. Many medical conditions can be treated effectively with foods and nutritional supplements, with fewer complications and side effects. NDs use diet, natural hygiene, fasting and nutritional supplementation in their practices. Homeopathic Medicine: Homeopathic medicine is the treatment of disease/symptoms using correctly prescribed, minimal doses of natural substances (plant, animal, mineral), which, if taken in larger doses, would cause disease/symptoms—the acting principle being “like cures like.” It promotes the return to health on physical, mental and spiritual levels.
Mental attitudes and emotional states may influence or even cause physical illness. Counseling, nutritional balancing, stress management, and other therapies are used to help patients heal psychologically.
Naturopathic physicians perform in-office minor surgery, including repair of superficial wounds and removal of foreign bodies, cysts and other superficial lesions.
Naturopathic Natural Childbirth/Midwifery
Trained and licensed naturopathic physicians facilitate natural childbirth in an out-of-hospital setting. They offer prenatal, intrapartum and postpartum care using modern diagnostic techniques combined with ancient midwifery wisdom. NUNM offers an elective course sequence resulting in a Natural Childbirth/Midwifery Certificate that allows students to apply for separate licensure in naturopathic natural childbirth.
While naturally derived pharmaceutical drugs have been within the scope of naturopathic practice in Oregon for decades, legislation now allows naturopathic physicians to use most prescription pharmaceutical agents commonly employed in a primary care setting, effective January 2010. Consistent with our conventional counterparts, and depending on the individual licensing laws of each state, naturopathic physicians may utilize a wide formulary of pharmaceutical medications when deemed appropriate for patient care.
Naturopathic medicine utilizes therapeutic manipulation of soft tissue, muscles, bones and spine. NDs also use ultrasound, diathermy, exercise, massage, water, heat and cold, and other gentle electrical therapies in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions and pain.
Intravenous and intramuscular injections of micronutrients and macronutrients are used for many purposes, from simple nutritional support to detoxification procedures in cases of poisonings, and specific treatment of both chronic and acute diseases.
The use of time-honored natural treatments including fresh air, exercise, whole foods and hydrotherapy are important in the naturopathic treatment and prevention of disease.
Hydrotherapy uses the healing power of water in all its forms to build and maintain health. Such “water treatments” have been used for centuries to promote healing. Specific therapeutic techniques may include hot and cold compresses, foot soaks, steam baths and more. Heated water expands blood vessels, while cold water contracts the vessels. The resulting change in temperature in an area of the body accelerates blood flow and improves circulation. This improved circulation sends disease fighting white blood cells through the bloodstream to boost immunity, reduce congestion, and increase the removal of toxins. Hydrotherapy is often used for stress reduction and relaxation.