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Naturopathic Physicians and NDs: The Health Detectives of Root Cause Medicine

Written by Portland Clinic of Natural Health on September 26, 2023

Naturopathic medicine is an approach to health and wellness that seeks to identify and treat the root causes of illness rather than simply suppressing symptoms. Naturopathic physicians and naturopathic doctors (NDs) are sometimes likened to health detectives—and for good reason. Their comprehensive approach to healthcare and keen attention to detail make them especially adept at understanding the underlying causes of complex health issues. Here's why:

Deep Listening Skills

One of the hallmarks of naturopathic medicine is the time and attention naturopathic physicians and NDs devote to each patient. In many conventional medical settings, appointments might last only 15 minutes, limiting the depth of understanding between physician and patient.

On the other hand, naturopathic physicians and NDs often spend an hour or more with new patients, asking in-depth questions about their health history, lifestyle, diet, and emotional well-being.

Holistic Approach

Naturopathic physicians and NDs view the body as an interconnected system. They don't just focus on physical symptoms; they also consider mental, emotional, environmental, and lifestyle factors. This comprehensive approach ensures that all potential causes of an illness are explored.

Personalized Care

NDs and naturopathic physicians believe that every individual is unique, and what works for one person might not work for another. By considering the whole person, naturopathic physicians and NDs can tailor their recommendations to best suit each patient's unique needs and circumstances.

Preventative Focus

Naturopathic physicians and NDs aim to prevent illness before it starts by identifying potential root causes early on. This proactive approach often uncovers subtle imbalances or triggers that might be overlooked in a more symptom-focused model of care. Any chronic diseases are preventable, and early interventions can significantly reduce their impact.

Ensuring the Credentials of Your Naturopathic Physician or ND

When seeking the care of a Naturopathic physician or ND, it's crucial to ensure they come from an accredited institution. In some states, due to the absence of stringent regulations, individuals with certificates from non-accredited schools can label themselves as naturopathic physicians or doctors. These certificates may not reflect the comprehensive training and clinical experience licensed naturopathic physicians and NDs receive from accredited institutions.

To truly benefit from the depth and breadth of naturopathic medicine, patients should verify the credentials of their naturopathic physician or ND. Only a licensed naturopathic physician or ND from an accredited school has undergone rigorous training, ensuring they possess the knowledge and skills to provide safe and effective care.

Checking for affiliations with professional organizations like the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) can also be a reliable way to vet the qualifications of your ND or naturopathic physician. Remember, your health is invaluable, and ensuring that you're in the hands of a qualified professional is paramount.

Holistic Care at Portland Clinic of Natural Health

At Portland Clinic of Natural Health, we believe in the power of holistic healing, even as we specialize in addressing environmental illnesses. Environmental factors undeniably play a pivotal role in our well-being, and our focus on this specialization underscores its importance.

However, true healing requires an approach that sees the individual as more than just a set of symptoms. Our commitment is to delve deep, considering all aspects of our patients' lives—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

By weaving together our expertise in environmental illness with a broader understanding of holistic health, we offer our patients a unique and comprehensive care experience. We understand that factors such as diet, lifestyle, relationships, and mental well-being often intersect with environmental triggers.

By taking this all-encompassing approach, Portland Clinic of Natural Health strives not only to address the immediate concerns but also to foster resilience and holistic wellness for every patient.

In conclusion, the qualities that make naturopathic physicians and doctors outstanding health detectives—deep listening, a holistic perspective, personalized care, and a preventative focus—are all grounded in evidence-based practices.

By considering the whole person and taking the time to understand their unique story, naturopathic physicians and NDs are exceptionally positioned to uncover the root causes of health concerns and craft effective, individualized solutions.


  1. American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. (2023) https://www.naturopathic.org

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