Fri, May 24

2012: Naturopathic Medicine a unique choice in natural health care

Dr. Cheryl Kasdorf

Dr. Cheryl Kasdorf

Where do you go in the Verde Valley for natural health care? How do you choose?

First consider this. Chronic health care accounts for 70 percent of Western medicine. The reason is failure to prevent and treat chronic disease and failure to treat causes. However, there are some doctors who diligently practice medicine by treating causes. Who?

Let’s look at Arizona’s licensing of individuals to practice medicine. In addition to a Medical, Osteopathic, and Chiropractic Board, Arizona has a Naturopathic and a Homeopathic Medical Board.

While some doctors have a natural medicine bent, the only profession that trains their doctors from the beginning with a philosophy of addressing the underlying cause of disease is Naturopathic Medicine.

Now, let’s clear up some confusion about people with natural healing training. The State of Arizona only licenses individuals as Naturopathic Physicians after graduating from an accredited Naturopathic Medical school, fulfilling requirements of Naturopathic clinical training, passing extensive Naturopathic board exams, and properly applying for the license.

Then the physicians may use N.D. or N.M.D. after their name. Note that “NMD” does not mean they are licensed by the Medical Board, instead by the Naturopathic Medical Board, a separate entity.

The curriculum in Naturopathic Medical colleges includes the basic medical sciences just as in a traditional medical school. A Naturopathic Physician is trained as a primary care provider with modern clinical, physical, and laboratory diagnosis.

The big difference is the training in discerning and treating the cause of illness with natural means such as nutrition, herbal medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, spinal adjustments, and counseling.

Notice that “homeopathy” is included in the scope of practice of Naturopathic Physicians, and there is a separate Homeopathic Medical Board.

That Board licenses doctors who already have an MD or DO license and complete specific additional training in natural therapies, not only homeopathy. It was created because most natural therapies are not strictly within the scope of practice of Medical Doctors or Doctors of Osteopathy, to allow these doctors to legally use natural therapies.

It may be hard to believe now, but Homeopathy was the predominant medical practice 100 years ago in the USA because of its effectiveness. A lot of Western medicine as we know it did not exist then.

Naturopathic Medicine evolved as a profession at that time as a blending of homeopathy and nature cure. Besides the use of individualized homeopathic medicines, Naturopathic Medicine incorporates homeopathic concepts for understanding the cause of disease and its treatment.

Western Medicine, as practiced by MD’s and most DO’s has the underlying assumption that disease is a specific thing a person has. Diagnosis is the identification of the disease. Treatment involves management of disease by the evidence-based application of drugs and surgery.

In contrast, Naturopathic Medicine is based on the premise that health is our natural state and disease is an adaptive response to a disturbance.

By understanding and treating the cause of this disturbance instead of countering symptoms, acute issues are prevented from becoming chronic disease. This philosophy separates Naturopathic Physicians from others who also use natural substances to treat.

In addition, Naturopathic Medicine incorporates cutting-edge research and technical innovations. Naturopathic Physicians have access to specialized testing such as for hormones, allergies, and digestive function.

As each Physician is unique in their talents and offerings, it is best to talk with them or their staff to find out if they fit your needs. The Verde Valley is fortunate to have a variety of licensed physicians that offer natural health care. Now you know what makes a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor unique in the field.

Dr. Cheryl Kasdorf’s passion is to restore health by finding and treating causes. In private practice in Cottonwood since 1999, she incorporates homeopathy, nutrition, hormone balancing, bodywork and lifestyle changes. See or call 928-649-9234.