Dr. Andrea Pryce

Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medical education consists of a four-year post-baccalaureate, medically-based, professional program at an accredited naturopathic medical school that incorporates naturopathic philosophy, biomedical sciences, clinical sciences, and supervised clinical patient care. A primary goal of naturopathic medical education is to train practitioners to fully integrate the philosophy of naturopathic medicine into their practice. It is not consistent with naturopathic philosophy to simply replace a pharmaceutical drug with a natural substance- naturopathic philosophy dictates that one must uncover the cause of the symptom.

That said, the impulse to compare and contrast NDs’ and MDs’ educations is almost unavoidable. Plenty of differences, as well as similarities, exist between the two, both in education and in medical practice. But when comparing the training and philosophies of NDs and MDs, it’s important to remember that each field is unique and offers distinct benefits to patients and the medical field as a whole. A chart comparing the educational hours of various types of medical programs (including accredited naturopathic, unaccredited naturopathic, and conventional medical) can be viewed here http://ncnm.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Nat-Med-Ed-Comp-Curricula.pdf.

Today’s naturopathic physicians are specifically trained to artfully blend modern, cutting-edge diagnostic and therapeutic procedures with ancient and traditional methods. They offer the world a healing paradigm founded on a rational balance of tradition, science and respect for nature.

What Is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct, integrated system of general healthcare practiced by naturopathic doctors who have graduated from a Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME)-accredited college. Naturopathic medicine is the philosophy and practice of the art and science of medicine that honors the integrity of the whole person by addressing body, mind and spirit. The naturopathic doctor facilitates the healing process through the most supportive and least invasive methods to maximize the person’s innate ability to achieve and maintain optimal health. Naturopathic medicine utilizes traditional and conventional medical sciences for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human disorders with an emphasis on the therapeutic use of natural methods and materials.

Naturopathic doctors are united by a practice philosophy that centers around core principles developed through historical and modern methods of studying health and disease. These prin- ciples are the cornerstone of the naturopathic doctor’s approach to the patient and their application provides for individualized care. 

These core principles are:

  • The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae): Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in people that 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 process.

  • Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam): The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms. 

  • First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere): Naturopathic physicians follow three guidelines to avoid harming the patient:
    • Utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat; 
    • Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms; and
    • Acknowledge, respect, and work with individuals’ self-healing process. 

  • Doctor as Teacher (Docere): Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship. 

  • Treat the Whole Person: Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development. 

  • Prevention: Naturopathic physicians emphasize the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and by making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness.

In conjunction with standard medical diagnostics and treatment, naturopathic doctors apply these principles universally in their professional careers, as well as in the evaluation and management of medical conditions that cross a patient’s lifespan. With disease prevention and health promotion as a primary goal, naturopathic medicine offers safe, effective and cost-efficient options for individual and population health concerns. Naturopathic doctors collaborate with other health-care providers to optimize patient health. 

What Do Naturopathic Doctors Use In Their Wellness Plans?

In a state like Oklahoma that does not clearly define and regulate the practice of naturopathic medicine, there is some confusion between licensable naturopathic physicians, who have a four-year, graduate-level, medically-based education and have passed the rigorous NPLEX examinations, and traditional naturopaths, many of whom may have only received correspondence or online training. Both use the same initials, ND, as professional identification, which can make the distinction difficult for the public to identify. It is important to ask where your practitioner went to school and if they took the NPLEX board exam.

Please note that many traditional naturopaths are gifted healers. It is important to understand a traditional naturopath has different training than that of a naturopathic physician. We feel that those seeking health care should be able to make an informed distinction between those professionals with similar titles and the same identifying initials. Always check your practitioner’s credentials to make sure you are working with the type of naturopath that suits your preference.

Naturopathic doctors in Oklahoma who have graduated from an accredited four-year medical program are actively pursuing licensure for the State of Oklahoma. Our goal is to achieve licensure for the state, thereby assuring the public that a person using the title of naturopathic doctor is a graduate from an accredited naturopathic medical program with training and accountability as a primary care doctor. This license will not put any other healthcare practitioner out of business, but rather will help clarify the different titles being used that are often confusing to the public.

What Type of Training Do Naturopathic Physicians Receive?

Naturopathic Physician vs Traditional Naturopath

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