The key to choosing the best naturopathic practitioner is to find out the extent and quality of education the practitioner received, and how long he or she has been practicing naturopathy. An individual can become a naturopathic practitioner in one of three ways. The first is to earn a four year degree in naturopathy. Healthcare professionals, such as dentists and chiropractors, may choose a second method of training, which is to attend continuing education classes or take online courses in naturopathy. These professionals typically use naturopathic treatments along with traditional therapy.
Individuals who have no formal medical training can also receive training through online or correspondence courses. This form of education provides limited, if any, hands-on training. Practitioners who have completed a four year program and healthcare professionals who have completed specialized training are better choices than naturopathic practitioners who received training exclusively through correspondence classes.
Licensing requirements vary from state to state, which can make it difficult to know what type of training a naturopathic practitioner has received. To determine licensing requirements in a particular state, contact that state's medical society or the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. These organizations maintain updated lists of licensing requirements.
A naturopathic practitioner treats chronic diseases, short term illnesses, helps prevent disease, and educates patients in how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. An initial visit to a naturopathic practitioner will be much like a visit to a traditional healthcare provider. He or she will take a detailed family history, question you about any current medical conditioners, diet, stress, and lifestyle issues, and ask about your emotional state. A naturopathic practitioner works to aid the body in healing itself, and helping patients make lifestyle changes that will improve their health.
Naturopathic practitioners offer a range of healthcare techniques to help the body heal, including nutritional counseling, vitamin and mineral supplementation, hydrotherapy, touch therapy, detoxification, homeopathic remedies, and teaching relaxation techniques. It is important that both the naturopathic practitioner and the traditional healthcare provider know about each other, and what treatments and medications each is providing. Obtain best results by choosing a traditional healthcare provider who is open to alternative medicine.