I always strive to help my clients balance mind and body with yoga and Naturopathic services. But you may be wondering just what Naturopathic Doctors (ND’s) do and how they differ from Medical Doctors (MD’s).
The main difference is that MD’s focus on individual organs or body parts to relieve immediate symptoms. Naturopaths instead focus on entire systems and the relationships between them in order to correct underlying causes of disease.
Another major difference is that MD’s rely heavily on pharmaceutical medications, while ND’s prefer natural methods such as dietary changes and herbal supplementation. Additionally, ND’s take a holistic approach, also addressing emotional well-being, lifestyle, sleep, and stress issues. Treatments are highly individualized and draw from many medical traditions including Homeopathic, Ayurvedic and Chinese practices.
In the state of Indiana, ND’s are not authorized to write prescriptions but have access to pharmaceutical grade supplements that cannot be purchased in retail stores. The advantage here is that these products generally are less expensive than prescriptions and come with fewer, less serious side affects. In this way, Naturopathic methods can actually afford a bigger bang for your medical buck.
Note that Naturopathic Doctors often do not accept insurance and are not recognized by insurance companies. An exception would be that they can order blood work, which may be covered by insurance. Many also accept Health Savings Accounts (HSA). The upside to this is that Naturopaths are free to spend more time with their patients and are not forced to utilize one-size-fits-all protocols.
Finally, remember that though it often affords relief where traditional Western medicine has failed, Naturopathic Medicine is considered complimentary to allopathic methods and is not intended as primary medical care.