Naturopathic Medicine Is Cool Now

Naturopathic Medicine Is Cool Now

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Naturopathic Medicine Is Cool Now

What does a golden retriever-collie mix named Rambo have to do with naturopathic medicine?

If you’re Dr. Ryan Krch, the answer just might be “everything.”

Every Hero Needs an Origin Story

After putting off medical school in favor of a career in finance, Dr. Krch found himself at a crossroads. Continue down an unfulfilling professional path? Or take a chance on a major career change that would set him in an entirely new direction?

Clarity came when Rambo was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. 

“We were going to a very accomplished veterinarian oncologist, but he wasn't connecting with the dog or meeting his needs in terms of things like pain control,” Dr. Krch says. “He was the sweetest dog on earth, and he was in so much discomfort, and getting worse by the day.”

A friend recommended seeing a DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) who also attended naturopathic school. The experience was revelatory. The new vet saw the pain Rambo was in and the stiffness in his hindquarters and suggested trying acupuncture.

“She connected with him immediately,” Dr. Krch recalls. “You could instantly see the relief and relaxation in his body when she put the needles in. I had no prior experience with acupuncture, and I was like, wow, there is really something to this.”

Rambo lived another 30 days with a better quality of life, then passed peacefully.

“That woke me up to this whole new area of medicine. The naturopathic approach was much more appealing to me than trying to go back to a mainstream medical school.” 

Dr. Krch left the finance world behind and earned his NMD (Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine) degree cum laude at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences. 

And the rest, as they say, is history.

What Is Naturopathic Medicine, Anyway?

Naturopathic medicine is a comprehensive system of primary health care that combines natural therapies with modern science to restore and optimize health. 

Naturopathic doctors (NDs or NMDs) treat holistically by looking at the patient as a whole person and addressing the underlying causes of illness, rather than focusing on a specific symptom or diagnosis. This highly-individualized approach considers all the factors that comprise a person’s overall health — including genetics, environment, lifestyle, diet, social/emotional factors and more.

While naturopathic physicians have some things in common with conventional physicians, their treatment methods favor natural therapies such as nutrition, botanical medicine, physical manipulation, acupuncture, homeopathy, IVs and injections, counseling, acupuncture and hydrotherapy.

The ultimate goal of naturopathic medicine is to support your innate capacity to heal and promote the well-being of your body and mind as an integrated system.

Breaking It Down: the Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic physicians practice according to six tenets (not the confusing Christopher Nolan kind). They are:

First, Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)

NMDs approach care by utilizing the most natural, least invasive and least harmful therapies. They will refer to another medical professional when the patient’s condition is outside their scope or level of skill.

The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)

The human body possesses an inherent ability to restore and maintain health. NMDs support the body with natural, non-toxic therapies and help the patient create a healthy lifestyle and environment.

Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam)

NMDs view symptoms as expressions of the body’s attempt to heal itself. They seek out and treat the underlying cause of a disease, rather than its symptoms. This allows the patient to recover and enjoy a better quality of life.

Treat the Whole Person (Tolle Totum)

The body, mind and spirit are interconnected aspects of a person’s overall being. NMDs see each patient as a unique whole who requires comprehensive and individualized care for healing to occur.

Doctor as Teacher (Docere)

NMDs strive to instill the patient with hope and knowledge, so the patient has the necessary tools to achieve their own healing. Naturopathic physicians empower their patients to reclaim agency over their own health.

Prevention Beats Cure (Praevenire)

NMDs shift the emphasis from fighting disease and treating symptoms to creating and maintaining good health. While NMDs do treat health conditions, the ultimate goal of naturopathic medicine is prevention.

How Are NMDs Trained and Licensed?

“Are naturopathic doctors real doctors?”

You’ve probably heard someone ask, and the answer is an enthusiastic YES! 

Licensed NMDs complete a four-year doctor of naturopathic medicine degree program at an accredited institution that is recognized by the United States Department of Education. The curriculum combines rigorous academic study with extensive supervised clinical experience. Students learn the same basic sciences as they would in a conventional medical program, plus a variety of naturopathic modalities. After graduating, they have the option of continuing their education with a naturopathic residency. 

In states that regulate licensure of naturopathic physicians, graduates must pass two professional board exams, NPLEX I and II, in order to practice as a physician. Some jurisdictions require an additional examination to be eligible for licensure. NMDs must also meet any state requirements for regulated professions, such as background checks or continuing education.

This map shows where NMDs are licensed in the United States.

We’ve answered some critical questions today:

Is naturopathic medicine a unique system of healthcare? (yes)

Are naturopathic physicians actual doctors? (yes)

Does Dr. Krch love animals? (heck yes)

But we have plenty of questions left:

Is an NMD different from a naturopath?

How does an NMD compare to an MD?

Can naturopathic medicine and conventional medicine complement each other?

Should I see an NMD? How do I find a qualified one?

What’s it like to work with a naturopathic physician?

Where do naturopathic medicine and aesthetics intersect?

Stay Tuned for More

We’ll be back to answer more questions in a future blog. To submit a question about naturopathic medicine or schedule a consultation with Dr. Krch, please reach out to ​​480-493-5833. You can also connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. We hope to speak with you soon!