Is your doctor a real doctor? – Cancer Defeated

Is your doctor a real doctor?

By Lee Euler / January 27, 2010

If you’ve read much about alternative health, you’ve come across the word “naturopath” or you’ve seen the initials “ND” (instead of “MD”) following a doctor’s name. The doctors we interview in our Special Reports are often ND’s. The initials stand for doctor of naturopathy.

You’ve probably seen the word, but you may wonder what it means, and what kind of qualifications and training the person has. I know I wonder all the time. What the heck IS an ND? Who are these people? Keep reading, because I decided to look into it and I’m going to tell you what I found.

And let me say right off: here at Cancer Defeated we’ve been researching alternative cancer treatments for about four years, and some of the best people we’ve come across are naturopathic doctors. In fact, some of the best cancer experts aren’t ANY kind of doctor at all. They come from other fields.

I’m mainly interested in results, so I haven’t personally looked into the ND credential and what it means — until now. I don’t care all that much about what the diploma on the wall says.

An embarrassing revelation…

But at the same time, I have a confession to make. I have to admit I feel a bit deflated when someone who calls himself a doctor turns out to be an ND instead of an MD. It’s like a little voice in my head says, “Oh, you mean he’s not a real doctor.”

I should kick myself, but the mainstream medical profession has surrounded itself with such an aura of superiority, I’m still a bit intimidated by their smug claims. The propaganda has worked. After all, we’ve been exposed to it all our lives. They’re the establishment and they’ve got all the power and most of the money.

If nothing else, I know MD’s are pretty bright and they’ve survived just about the toughest obstacle course in the education industry. But I also know something else. I went to a so-called elite school way back in the 1970s. About half the undergrads were trying to get into medical school. No kidding, that’s how many guys at my college wanted to be doctors (it was an all-male college back in those days).

And even at that tender age I knew I didn’t want most of these guys treating me for even an ingrown toenail. They wanted to become doctors for the money and the social status. Even as kids they were about as caring as rattlesnakes. Sounds harsh, but it was true. I saw it with my own 19-year-old eyes. Oh, heavens, they studied hard and were bright, but did they care about healing? No. Period.

Their interest in medicine — if they even had any — was more like the interest kids these days have in computers. They were fascinated by the science and technology aspect. But most of them didn’t rise to even that level of interest. It was all about having a lucrative, high-status career.

So I have no hesitation about recommending other types of medicine, including naturopathy. I’ve had great success treating myself with alternatives. Give me a “quack” any old day. My friends and relatives who stuck with conventional medicine are falling apart around me, while I’m not doing too badly for someone my age. What’s more, surveys show the same is true of most people who are into alternative medicine. We’re a healthy bunch.

So now let me help you choose your “quack.”

What’s a naturpath? I finally found out!

The truth is that many naturopathic doctors have a lot of the same skills as conventional doctors, but they receive additional training in natural therapies and a commitment to heal the body, not medicate it.

Just look at the six values that govern them — all of which are centered around a natural approach to healing.

The first commits them to treating the cause of an illness instead of just suppressing the symptoms, as in conventional medicine.

Second, they follow the mantra to “First, do no harm.” Meaning they steer clear of drugs and procedures with harmful side effects.

Patient education is the third core value. Naturopathic doctors believe being a physician means teaching, not dominating a patient.

Fourth, naturopathic doctors treat you as a whole person instead of a combination of parts. They consider physical, mental, emotional, environmental, and social factors before labeling anything. No cookie-cutter diagnoses, in other words.

Fifth, they work to prevent illness by considering your individual risk factors and making personalized interventions.

And their last core value is to place a huge emphasis on the healing power of nature and the body’s innate ability to heal itself. This means they turn to drugs only as a last course of action.

Bottom line — naturopathic medicine is designed to curb most chronic illnesses without sentencing you to a lifetime of drugs and side effects.

You hardly ever hear a medical doctor say, “Let’s figure out the cause of your problem so you can get over this without having to take drugs the rest of your life.”

Their attitude is pathetic, because chronic diseases can be caused by something as simple as a wheat allergy or a sensitivity to preservatives. It’s more common than you think. So don’t let yourself be put on a lifetime regime of drugs because your doctor doesn’t know how to diagnose you correctly.

How do you find a qualified naturopathic doctor?

The main problem with naturopathic medicine is that it’s not widely regulated. I’m not a fan of regulation, but the lack of it means you have to do your own homework and think for yourself.

The title Doctor of Naturopathy isn’t protected. So depending on which state you live in, any practitioner can use the title whether they’re qualified or not.

Right now, there are three levels of naturopathic care. The first consists of practitioners who are largely self-taught or who went through some type of apprenticeship. They call themselves “naturopaths.” Sometimes they’re good, sometimes not. I’m not putting down the good ones — I’ve met some self-taught or lightly-credentials healers who are very good indeed. But you need to check things out.

The next level up is practitioners who practice under other professional licenses but offer some naturopathic services — a chiropractor might do this, for example. Chiropractors have plunged wholesale into herbal medicines, supplements and other alternative therapies. Some of them are very good healers.

But the third level — and your best bet for primary healthcare — is a licensed naturopathic doctor with a four-year medical degree. These naturopathic doctors (NDs) complete graduate-level programs that include the same basic sciences studied by conventional doctors. In fact, some naturopathic medical schools actually require more instruction in basic and clinical sciences than do a lot of the top medical schools.

Along with those basic sciences, they train in all the natural therapies: clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, acupuncture, Traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, massage, hydrotherapy, etc.

Naturopathic medical schools are formally accredited by a council recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. A lot of them go through internships and residencies. They have to pass board exams to be licensed as primary care doctors. Some go on to work in research. The National Institutes of Health even funds some naturopathic medical research.

Scope of practice

The problem, and the reason a lot of people can’t get access to naturopathic care, is that the profession is still hung up in regulatory red tape. Right now, fifteen states and three U.S. jurisdictions regulate the profession — Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and D.C.

Some naturopathic doctors can write prescriptions or give vaccines, but it depends on where they live. Right now, eleven of the states that grant ND licenses give prescription rights. Eight states let them perform surgery.

Washington State is the most progressive on the naturopathic front. NDs there are considered comparable to primary care MDs. Washington naturopathic doctors even accept insurance. In Connecticut, the insurance situation is even better — the state law there forces all insurance companies to cover naturopathic services.

But go somewhere like Texas or Iowa and you’ll have a hard time even finding a licensed naturopathic doctor.

It’s sickening to think about, but your right to non-invasive, healing care is pretty much determined by where you live.

The ideal situation would be for all of us to use naturopathic doctors as our primary caregivers. But given the lack of ND licensing laws in most states, it’s just not possible.

If you’re in a state where you can access qualified naturopathic care, do it. And even if your state doesn’t license NDs, you may still be able to find a degreed naturopathic doctor who practices under a license issued by another state (though their scope of practice would be limited).

If your only option is to see a traditional naturopath — one who lacks all the fancy credentials — it’s essential you ask for qualifications and references. You don’t want to end up being treated by someone who got his or her degree from a three-month Internet course.

Are MD’s good for anything?

The answer is yes. Conventional, establishment MD’s are good for some things and I still go to mine from time to time. The last visit was two or three years ago. (He’s a good man — I’ll have more to say about our strange relationship in a future issue.)

Medical doctors are great for shock-trauma treatment. If I were in a car accident or accidentally sliced a limb with a chain saw, I’d head for the emergency room like everyone else. Likewise if I thought I was suffering from a heart attack. It’s a little late at that point to think about herbs and vitamins. You need something to get you through the next 24 hours.

But if you really want to heal your body for long-term health, conventional medicine is the last place you should go.

If you’re dealing with chronic diseases like arthritis, heart disease or cancer, their brand of shock-and-awe treatment won’t do you any good. At best, it’ll just suppress your symptoms. At worst, it’ll give you awful side effects that plague you the rest of your life while your disease sticks around.

Praise God, I don’t suffer from cancer, heart disease the other degenerative diseases, but I can tell you from personal experience that MD’s are nearly worthless in helping you with pain, digestive problems of any kind, allergies, skin diseases or headaches. Among dermatologists — skin doctors — the joke is that “it’s a great business because the patients never die and they never get well.” Is that the kind of doctor you want — the kind who thinks a comment like that is funny?

The difference between MDs and NDs is something like this: Say you have a short circuit in your house. It starts a fire. An MD would show up, put the fire out, and tell you to call if it happens again. An ND would show up, put the fire out, and figure out what caused the fire in the first place so it never happens again.

In one situation, you’re always at risk. In the other, your risk has been eliminated.

And the comparison is a little unfair to fire fighters. You can be pretty sure they’ll put out a fire, but a conventional MD often won’t help your chronic disease at all, from acne when you’re a kid to arthritis when you’re a senior. And if he does it’s probably with a prescription drug that does you untold harm while just masking the symptoms of your illness.

Naturopathic medicine is designed to support good health for the rest of your life. Incorporate a good ND’s advice into your healthy lifestyle, and you’ve got something that will last.

Best regards,

Lee Euler,

About the author

Lee Euler

Hi I'm Lee Euler, I’ve spent over a decade investigating every possible way a person can beat cancer. In fact, our commitment to defeating cancer has made us the world’s #1 publisher of information about Alternative Cancer Treatments -- with over 20 books and 700 newsletters on the subject. If you haven't heard about all your cancer options, or if you want to make sure you don’t miss even one answer to this terrible disease, then join our newsletter. When you do, I'll keep you informed each week about the hundreds of alternative cancer treatments that people are using to cure cancer all over the world.

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