What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Founded upon a holistic philosophy, naturopathic medicine combines safe and effective traditional therapies with the most current advances in modern medicine. Naturopathic medicine is appropriate for the management of a broad range of health conditions affecting people of all ages. A licensed naturopathic doctor (ND) attends a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school and is educated in the same basic sciences as conventional medical doctors. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician is required to complete training in clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, counseling, hydrotherapy, minor surgery and pharmacology. A naturopathic physician takes rigorous professional board exams in order to be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a general practitioner of Family Medicine.

Please note: While Dr. Christie Fleetwood is a medically trained, licensed naturopathic physician (Washington state license #1374), there are still many states that do not currently license or recognize licensed naturopathic physicians.

What ISN'T Naturopathic Medicine:

Also, please note that not all NDs are created equally. In those states that do not recognize nor  license credentialed naturopathic doctors, many lay persons (with no medical training or recognized higher education) hold certificates granting them the title "Doctor of Naturopathy" (ND). This becomes very confusing to the public at large, as well as bonafide health care practitioners and lawmakers. While some unlicensable "NDs" may be brilliant individuals, their certificates come primarily from correspondence schools or short term seminars, none of which are credentialed by any recognized credentialing body of higher education. This is being brought to your attention simply to let you know that there are differences between practitioners having "ND" behind their names. Ask questions about medical training and education. Ask to see the practitioners license, if you are intending to consult with a licensed or licensable naturopathic doctor. Virginia is currently in a "buyer beware" market where naturopathy or naturopathic medicine is concerned.  In Washington, anyone using the term "naturopath" or "naturopathic doctor" or "naturopathic physician" or anything else having to do with naturopathic medicine is known (because of the licensing requirements of the state) to have graduated from one of the accredited schools and successfully passed the licensing exams.




The Philosophy of Naturopathic Medicine

In a licensed state, naturopathic physicians are primary care and specialty doctors who address the underlying cause of disease through effective, individualized, natural therapies that integrate the healing powers of body, mind, and spirit. Naturopathic physicians are unique in providing diagnosis and treatment that bridges both conventional and natural medicine perspectives; they integrate scientific research with the healing powers of nature. The goal of a naturopathic physician is to employ therapies that support and promote the body's natural healing process, leading to the highest state of wellness. As professional leaders and pioneers in science-based natural medicine, naturopathic physicians advocate the development of professional standards, accountability, and regulation of all forms of medicine in all jurisdictions to maintain public safety and freedom of choice in health care. Further, they support broad inclusion, collaboration, and equal access in the health care system at all levels.

Naturopathic Principles
As a naturopathic doctor, I practice the principles of naturopathic medicine. These include:
  1. First, Do No Harm--primum non nocere--which means I will utilize methods and substances that minimize the risk of harmful side effects and avoid the suppression of symptoms, while I acknowledge and respect your healing process.
  2. Identify and Treat the Cause--tolle causam--I will endeavor to identify and remedy the underlying cause of illness, using the presenting symptoms as clues to help me help you.
  3. The Healing Power of Nature--vis mediatrix naturae--each of us is remarkably designed with an inherent healing force of nature within our bodies. It is my job to encourage this healing force within each of my clients.
  4. Doctor as Teacher--docere--within any relationship is the potential for help and healing. Between doctor and client, a "sacred space" is developed to create therapeutic value between us. Education and self-responsibility are also essential components to optimizing health. I want you to understand the rationale behind each recommendation I make for you, and for you to be comfortable asking me the questions you need answered.
  5. Treat the Whole Person--tolle totum--each patient entering my care will receive individualized treatment which takes into account the physical, mental, emotional, genetic, spiritual, environmental and social facets of that person.
  6. Prevention--emphasis is placed on disease prevention, assessment of risk factors, and genetic susceptibility to disease with appropriate interventions to prevent illness. This principle extends to the community at large.
  7. Wellness--wellness follows the establishment and maintenance of optimum health and balance. Wellness is a state of being healthy, characterized by positive emotions, thoughts and actions, rather than simply the "absence of disease". When you feel well, you are more likely to make a positive impact on your environment, community, family, etc.

Methods Include:

  • Lifestyle Counseling--diet and exercise, stress management
  • Homeopathy--to strengthen the individual and encourage detoxification
  • Physical Medicine--"hands on medicine", including craniosacral therapy, muscle energy stretch, hydrotherapies, somatic repositioning, limited massage, SCENAR
  • Botanical Medicine--herbs for health and healing
  • Emotional Freedom Technique--decreases emotional trauma
  • Food as Medicine--using or avoiding specific foods to potentiate better health