Naturopathic physicians (N.D.s or N.M.D.s) are general practitioners
trained as specialists in natural medicine. They are educated in conventional
medical sciences as well as complementary modalities. Naturopathic
physicians treat disease and restore health using therapies from the
sciences of clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, physical
medicine, exercise therapy, counseling, Oriental medicine and acupuncture,
natural childbirth, and hydrotherapy. They tailor these approaches
to the needs of the individual patient. Naturopathic medicine is effective
in treating most health problems, weather acute or chronic. Naturopathic
physicians cooperate with all other branches of medical science, referring
patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.
practice, naturopathic physicians perform physical exams, laboratory
testing, gynecological exams, nutritional and dietary assessments,
metabolic analysis, allergy testing, and other diagnostic tests. They
are the only primary-care physicians clinically trained in the use
of a wide variety of natural therapeutics. They combine and tailor
these treatments to the needs of the individual based on cogent philosophy
that acknowledges the patient as a participant.
naturopathic physician has a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D
or N.M.D.) degree from a four-year, graduate-level, naturopathic medical
college. In states where they are regulated, naturopathic physicians
must pass a national and state-level board examination, and their
actions are subject to review by a state Board of Examiners.
NATUROPATHIC MEDICAL EDUCATION
Naturopathic medical colleges are four-year, post-graduate schools
with admission requirements comparable to those of conventional medical
schools. The degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine requires four
years of graduate-level study in medical sciences including:
Clinical & Physical Diagnosis
Lab Diagnosis & Other Clinical Sciences
Throughout the four years of both classroom and clinical training,
there is training in naturopathic therapeutics, including therapeutic
nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, natural childbirth, acupuncture,
hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulative therapy, and other therapies.
Because the course work in natural therapeutics is added to a standard
medical curriculum, naturopathic doctors receive significantly more
hours of classroom education than graduates of many leading medical
schools. In addition to classroom hours, naturopathic medical students
do their clinical training in student clinics, various medical clinics
There are presently four accredited colleges of naturopathic medicine
in the United States and Canada:
Bastyr University in Bothell, WA
Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Ontario
National College in Portland, OR
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences in
addition, the naturopathic medical program at the University of Bridgeport
in Bridgeport, CT, has candidate status for accreditation. The accrediting
agency for naturopathic medical programs is the Council on Naturopathic
Medical Education (CNME).The CNME is the only naturopathic accrediting
body in the U.S. that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Dr. Kargman received her naturopathic and acupuncture degrees from
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences in
1996 and 1997, respectively.
WHAT WE DO
Naturopathic physicians are the only primary-care physicians clinically
trained in the use of a wide variety of natural therapeutics. Some
of the therapies practiced by naturopathic physicians are:
Nutrition. Nutrition and the therapeutic use of food have always been
a cornerstone of naturopathic medicine. It refers to both the practice
of using food to maintain health and the therapeutic use of food to
treat illness. A growing body of scientific knowledge in this area
is reflected by the numerous professional journals of nutrition and
dietary sciences, validating the naturopathic approach to diet and
nutrition. Many medical conditions can be treated effectively with
foods and nutritional supplements as they can by any other means,
but with fewer complications and side effects. Naturopathic physicians
receive more than 140 classroom hours in clinical nutrition while
most medical doctors receive fewer than 20.
Medicine. This powerful system of medicine is more than 200 years
old, and is widely accepted in many other countries. This medical
system uses highly diluted substances to cure illness. Homeopathic
medicines act to strengthen the body’s innate immune response
and they rarely produce side effects. Some conditions which do not
respond well to conventional medicine will respond to homeopathic
therapies. Homeopathics are very safe for children, who respond particularly
well to them.
Medicine. Many plant substances are powerful medicines, having advantages
over pharmaceutical drugs. They are effective and safe when used properly,
in the right dose and in the proper combinations with other herbs
and treatments. There is much research being done demonstrating the
efficacy of using botanicals in treating a variety of conditions.
Naturopathic doctors are trained in both the art and science of botanical
Physical Medicine. In the last 100 years, various methods of applying
treatments through the manipulation of muscles, bones and spine have
been developed in the US. Naturopathic medicine has its own techniques,
collectively known as Naturopathic Manipulative Therapy. Physical
Medicine also includes but is not limited to physiotherapy using heat
and cold, gentle electrical pulses, ultrasound, hydrotherapy, craniosacral
therapy, and exercise therapy.
Childbirth. Some naturopathic physicians who have completed additional
specialty training provide natural childbirth care in an out-of-hospital
setting. These physicians offer prenatal and postnatal care using
the most modern diagnostic techniques. When natural childbirth is
not medically indicated because of high risk, patients are referred
for appropriate care. A naturopath’s ability to practice natural
childbirth varies legally from state to state.
Medicine. Naturopathic physicians are trained in the fundamentals
of Oriental Medicine and diagnosis, and many use acupuncture, acupressure
and oriental botanical medicine in their practices (see Acupuncture
for more details).
and Stress Management. Mental attitudes and emotional states can be
important elements in healing illness. Naturopathic physicians are
trained in various psychological techniques, including counseling,
nutritional balancing, stress management, hypnotherapy, biofeedback
and other methods.
Surgery. This includes repair of superficial wounds and removal of
foreign bodies, cysts and other superficial masses with local anesthesia
existence or absence (such as in Maryland) of naturopathic licencing
laws may affect your doctor’s scope of practice.
The principles of naturopathic medicine unite the profession. The
following principles are the foundation that naturopathic medical
practice is built upon:
Healing Power of Nature. Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent
self-healing process in the person which is ordered and intelligent.
Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to healing
and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this inherent self-healing
Do No Harm. Naturopathic physicians prefer non-invasive treatments
which minimize the risks of harmful side effects. They are trained
to know which patients they can treat safely, and which ones need
to be referred to other healthcare professionals.
The Cause. Every illness has an underlying cause, often related to
a variety of issues including aspects of lifestyle, diet, environment,
or hereditary factors of the individual. A naturopathic physician
seeks to remove the underlying cause of the disease, rather than merely
eliminating or suppressing symptoms.
The Whole Person. Health and disease come from a complex interaction
of physical, emotional, spiritual, dietary, genetic, environmental,
lifestyle and other factors. Naturopathic physicians treat the whole
person, taking these factors into account.
As Teacher. Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage
self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the
therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
Naturopathic physicians emphasize the prevention of disease through
assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease and
making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients
to prevent illness. Naturopathic medicine is committed to the creation
of a healthy world in which humanity can thrive.
PROFESSION & LICENSING
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) is the
unifying professional association for naturopathic medicine. They
support legislation to license and regulate naturopathic physicians
in all states, in order to distinguish properly-trained physicians
from lesser-trained individuals who may present a danger to public
health. Dr. Kargman has been a member of the AANP since 1994.
state and territory determines whether or not naturopaths are state-licensed
physicians. It is important, especially in states such as Maryland
where there is no naturopathic licensing and regulation, to find out
if your naturopath is a graduate of one of the 4 accredited schools,
has passed the National Board Exam for naturopathic physicians (the
NPLEX), and holds a license to practice naturopathic medicine in a
state that does license naturopathic physicians. After graduating
from Southwest College, Dr. Kargman completed and passed her NPLEX
exams and was granted a license to practice medicine in the state
of Arizona in 1997. She still maintains a current license from Arizona
to practice medicine.
11 states and the US territories of Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands
have licensing laws for naturopathic physicians. These states are:
Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire,
Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington. In these states naturopaths
are licensed primary-care physicians.
For more information about naturopathic medicine and physicians, or
to find a naturopathic physician in your area, check out the AANP
(American Association of Naturopathic Physicians) website at www.naturopathic.org
Stacey Kargman, N.M.D., Lac. 410.356.4600
Maryland Natural Health Center, 10806 Reisterstown Rd. # 1E, Owings
Mills, MD 21217
Mid-Atlantic Headache Institute, 1777 Reisterstown Rd. # 104, Pikesville