Why and How Do Naturopathic Doctors Focus on Prevention?

Why and How Do Naturopathic Doctors Focus on Prevention?

View the printable PDF version. 

The AANP and INM would like to acknowledge Amy Rothenberg, ND, for her contributions to the content of this FAQ.

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) follow six guiding principles that serve as a philosophical platform for all of naturopathic medicine. The principles influence how NDs think about medicine, make clinical decisions, and most importantly, how you are treated as a patient. Prevention is one of these six core principles.

Half of all Americans live with at least one chronic disease, like heart disease or diabetes. Chronic conditions are the leading causes of death and disability and a leading driver of health care costs in America. But among U.S. adults, 90 percent of Type 2 diabetes, 80 percent of cardiovascular disease, 70 percent of stroke, and 70 percent of colon cancer are potentially preventable by modifiable lifestyle changes. The right preventive care at every stage of life helps Americans stay healthy, avoid or delay the onset of disease, and keep diseases they already have from becoming worse or debilitating. However, Americans use preventive services at about half the recommended rate.

Licensed naturopathic doctors (NDs) proactively focus on prevention both to benefit individual patients and to improve public health. Beyond reactively treating disease, naturopathic doctors emphasize and help individuals build optimal health by:

  • Spending extra time with patients to identify the determinants of health and disease
  • Approaching health through the lens of the whole person—body, mind, and spirit
  • Educating about and promoting healthy lifestyle choices
  • Assessing and addressing risk factors and implementing early interventions
  • Determining genetic and hereditary susceptibility to disease
  • Evaluating and addressing environmental and other external impacts on health
  • Determining the impact of social relationships and community on health, and working to improve them, when relevant

NDs are educated and trained to use pharmacological drugs when necessary and can prescribe medication to manage symptoms if their state license permits. However, because naturopathic doctors focus on supporting the body’s health restoring and maintenance processes, they offer the gentlest, least toxic, evidence-based treatments first.

Non-drug approaches offer effective prevention strategies that can improve health outcomes. Studies have found a 40 percent average reduction in LDL (i.e., comparable to statins) in patients who were asked to consume a whole foods plant-based diet low in both fat and refined carbohydrates (along with moderate exercise, meditation/yoga, and social support). In addition, studies have shown that proper testing, treatment, and lifestyle changes such as losing weight, adopting a healthy diet, and physical activity have beneficial effects on people with Type 2 diabetes and are the cornerstones of diabetes prevention for at-risk individuals.

For those with an established disease that is not going away—such as chronic arthritis or permanent disabilities—naturopathic doctors use prevention strategies to strengthen health and improve quality of life and life expectancy. NDs’ rigorous training in areas such as clinical nutritionbehavioral medicinebotanical medicine, and other natural treatments makes them expert at prescribing and supporting essential, effective, and enduring behavior and lifestyle modifications.

How and Why Do Naturopathic Doctors Use Botanical Medicine?

How and Why Do Naturopathic Doctors Use Botanical Medicine?

View the printable PDF version. The AANP and the INM would like to acknowledge Patricia Gaines, ND, and Sheila Kingsbury, ND, for their contributions to the content of this FAQ.  Botanical medicine, also known as herbal medicine, is the science and practice of using medicinal plants and extracts to improve overall health, support wellness, and treat acute and chronic disease. Many…

What Do Naturopathic Doctors Mean By “First, Do No Harm?”

What Do Naturopathic Doctors Mean By “First, Do No Harm?”

View the printable PDF version.  The AANP and INM would like to acknowledge Amy Rothenberg, ND, for her contributions to the content of this FAQ. Licensed naturopathic doctors (NDs) follow six guiding principles that serve as a philosophical platform for all of naturopathic medicine. The principles influence how NDs think about medicine, make clinical decisions, and most importantly,…

How Do Naturopathic Doctors Help People Manage Blood Pressure?

How Do Naturopathic Doctors Help People Manage Blood Pressure?

View the printable PDF version.  The AANP and the INM would like to acknowledge Kasra Pournadeali, ND, for his contributions to the content of this FAQ. Forty-six percent of U.S. adults, and nearly 80 percent of those aged 65 and older have high blood pressure, or hypertension, according to new guidelines from the American Heart Association. High blood pressure, which often…

What Do Naturopathic Doctors Mean by Treat the Whole Person?

What Do Naturopathic Doctors Mean by Treat the Whole Person?

View the printable PDF version. The AANP and INM would like to acknowledge Amy Rothenberg, ND, for her contributions to the content of this FAQ. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) follow six guiding principles that serve as a philosophical platform for all of naturopathic medicine. The principles influence how NDs think about medicine, make clinical decisions, and most importantly, how…

What Advanced Training Do Naturopathic Doctors Have in Behavioral Medicine?

What Advanced Training Do Naturopathic Doctors Have in Behavioral Medicine?

View the printable PDF version. The AANP and INM would like to acknowledge Brad Lichtenstein, ND, BCB, Bastyr University Associate Professor and Katie Stage, ND, RH (AHG), Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine Division Director of Therapeutics for their contributions to the content of this FAQ. Individual behavior is one of the most important influencers of your health. Your lifestyle and the conditions in which you…

Why Are a Growing Number of Medical Doctors (MDs) Working Collaboratively with Naturopathic Doctors (NDs)?

Why Are a Growing Number of Medical Doctors (MDs) Working Collaboratively with Naturopathic Doctors (NDs)?

View the printable PDF version. The AANP and the INM would like to acknowledge Leonard A. Wisneski, MD, FACP and Dave Johnson, MD, FACC for their contributions to the content of this FAQ. Conventionally trained medical doctors find that naturopathic doctors have education, training and a practice approach that enhances care and expands treatment options for patients. Specifically: NDs…

How Do Naturopathic Doctors Help Address Men’s Health?

How Do Naturopathic Doctors Help Address Men’s Health?

View the printable PDF version. Five key lifestyle changes can add up to 12 years to a man’s life, according to a new Harvard study. But unhealthy lifestyle habits, less frequent screening, and late treatment for preventable chronic diseases all result in men dying at greater rates than women from causes including heart disease, diabetes, accidents, and cancer.…

Why is Doctor as Teacher a Principle of Naturopathic Medicine?

Why is Doctor as Teacher a Principle of Naturopathic Medicine?

View the printable PDF version. The AANP  & INM would like to acknowledge Amy Rothenberg, ND, and Allison Willette, RN, ND for their input on this FAQ. Naturopathic doctors follow six guiding principles that serve as a philosophical platform for everything they do. The principles influence how they think about medicine, how they make clinical decisions, and most importantly,…

NYANP Member Spotlight

NYANP Member Spotlight

Dr. Jillian Finker, Naturopathic Doctor Interview on December 11, 2018 by Dr. Kurt Beil 1. Where did you go to school and when did you graduate? Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM), Graduated in 2003. 2. Why did you want to become a Naturopathic Doctor? Growing up, I wanted to become an MD. I was…