This philosophy invokes opposing viewpoints – nonetheless, it is one derived, in part, from Hippocratic teachings dating back to more than 2000 years ago. Today, naturopathic medicine continues to grow in popularity and acceptance as people continue to look for alternatives to conventional drugs and surgery.
But let’s preface this discussion with a brief history lesson, shall we?
The roots of naturopathy can be traced back to the teachings of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, and Galen, the second-century surgeon and philosopher. In fact, many of its healing traditions trace back to religious tradition and folk and Native American medicine.
The actual term naturopathy was first used around 1895 to describe the growing number of doctors and healers who believed that treating the person and promoting health were more important than simply alleviating the symptoms of disease.
During World War II, natural healing was pushed to the background by the development of medical technology and the increased use of drugs, such as penicillin and morphine. Then, in the late 1960s, natural medicine began to regain respect, with the ideas, philosophy and medicine behind naturopathy increasingly gaining acceptance today.
Which leads us to the next important question: Can one establish a thriving career within the field of naturopathic medicine?
The career options in naturopathic medicine are actually quite promising.
Let’s first begin with an overview of a naturopathic doctor, or N.D., who teaches his or her patients to use diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and cutting-edge natural therapies to enhance their bodies’ ability to ward off and combat disease.
Naturopathic doctors work in private practices, hospitals, clinics and community health centers. They treat all medical conditions and provide both individual and family health care. Among the most common ailments they treat are allergies, chronic pain, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, obesity, respiratory conditions, heart disease, fibromyalgia and more.
Much like medical doctors, an N.D. performs diagnostic tests and physical examinations using traditional procedures, like x-rays and ultrasounds. But unlike medical doctors, a naturopathic physician treats illnesses using alternative and natural techniques.
Cristina Romero-Bosch, N.D., of Iluminar Therapy in Scottsdale, explains why she knew naturopathic medicine was her calling.
“I come from a long line of conventional physicians in my family and I grew up in a typical Hispanic household where there was good food and lots of laughter,” she says. “When you got sick, herbs were rubbed on your chest or you were fed some caldo.”
Romero-Bosch had good intentions of continuing the family tradition and going into conventional medicine. Her father, a psychologist who studied acupuncture in China, was instrumental in opening her mind – and heart – to the naturopathic side.