Prior to being a naturopath, I was a chemical engineer. I had a job working for Dow. After a year of doing this, I got very sick. I was exhausted all the time. Before that, I was working to live. My weekend was packed with activities. Then I used my weekends and then nights to recover for the next day. I knew nothing about nutrition or health. I went to my doctor and told him about my exhaustion. After examining me, he said I was a healthy guy. He suggested drinking coffee to increase my energy. So I was frustrated. I knew there was something wrong, but there was no explanation for my problem. I wound up in a health food store and changed my diet. I detoxed. I got my strength back and felt better than I did in years. I used the energy to climb the corporate ladder. My last job was designing a process to detoxify agent orange. Before that I worked for a job where everyone was 20 years older. They were all overweight guys with pasty complexions.
I said that's not what I want to do with my life and I started looking for a new occupation. My future wife's girlfriend said "Look, all the books you read on health and I said that's right. So I wanted to be the person where I could treat with various modalities. And I wanted to be someone with training who could talk with doctors. So I became a naturopath. I treat my cases with a blend of naturopathy and homeopathy.
Naturopathy is profession that specializes in natural medicine. It blends old non-toxic therapies with a current understanding of health and human systems. Naturopaths practice comprehensive medical care and treat the whole person. It recognizes the body's inherent healing abilities. And it identifies the underlying causes of disease rather than suppresses symptoms. It prevents disease through promoting a healthy lifestyle and educating the patient. But asking someone to change what they eat is the hardest thing in the world to do. Herbal medicine and homeopathy, manipulation are a big part of naturopathy. Naturopaths do adjustments on the entire body, not just the spine. We also do hydrotherapy and hypnosis.
What are the requirements to become a student at a naturopathic school? It has pre-med requirements. Only one in thee are accepted into . It's a 4 year post-doc program with 2 year clinical internship. Naturopaths are not licensed in Maryland. Pennsylvania has a bill pending. And Washington DC may be licensed by the end of the year.
The scope of practice differs from state to state. In Washington State naturopaths can be primary care physicians. They can prescribe antibiotics and other limited pharmaceuticals. I can't do pelvic , breast or rectal exams in this state because of sensitivity even though I am trained to do so. There is no insurance reimbursement in this state for naturopathy. Less than one percent of NDs are sued for malpractice. The last lawsuit was 1987. My malpractice insurance is principle "first do no harm."
Naturopathy has continuing education requirements. I am licensed annually and have to answer to a practice board. If naturopaths are licensed in a state, it's illegal to call yourself a naturopath without being licensed. I know at some point there's a possibility I'll spend my time in jail and I'm willing to do that. I explain to my patients that I'm not a licensed doctor.
But I have good relations with the medical profession here. I have been invited to talk at Sinai Hospital because I treated the cancer patients of a doctor who practices there. I'm in discussions with Kernan to join their staff. I've been invited to talk at the University of Maryland Medical School to their fourth year medical students. I believe in a few decades there will be no distinctions between ND and MD. If NDs cease to exist under that name, I couldn't be happier. But the big difference between the two profession is in philosophy. MDs don't understand the importance of treating the whole person.
The word doctor comes from the Latin docere, which means to teach. I take that very seriously. I give talks explaining the principles of naturopathy. I've been asked to give a talk to a foster care program. These kids are almost all on polypharmacy and I will teach a class on natural medicine as an alternative.
I combine homeopathy and herbal medicine in my practice. But I do it with restraint. I could give different herbs for constipation, but don't because that will mask the symptoms needed to diagnose for homeopathy. The same thing is true for insomnia. I don't use strong purgatives with homeopathy because that could antidote the remedy. I do classical homeopathy and don't use a computer. I feel I'm a much better homeopath by doing the case by hand. My job is to tell people what they need. Sometimes people are surprised to be told to stop taking things. This need to take supplements reflects the psoric miasm. The handwriting and how they fill out the form, how they dress and sit down are important symptoms for the diagnosis. There is a hierarchy of intervention from the least to the most invasive. Its important to know a which level to treat. I suggest to women with beginning breast cancer to get a lumpectomy and then I will treat them naturopathically. I have women patients with breast cancer who didn't have surgery and now regret it.
Baltimore Homeopathic Study Group