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Med Clin North Am. 2002 Jan;86(1):173-84.


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Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Naturopathic medicine is an eclectic form of primary health care that encompasses many complementary modalities in the treatment and prevention of disease. Treatment protocols are integrative in nature, combining the most suitable therapies to address the individual patient's needs. Although naturopathic physicians often are referred to as general practitioners of complementary medicine, practitioners share a common philosophical belief in the profession's founding principles. Naturopathic physicians have started to contribute to research and incorporate modern scientific methods into clinical practice, which has served to develop and validate the profession further. In contrast to many other forms of complementary medicine, naturopathic medicine is regulated partially by law. Legislation of naturopathic medicine has worked well in jurisdictions where it is legislated and has led to uniform standards of education and practice. In addition, regulation has helped with integration and naturopathic cooperation with all other branches of medical science. Within licensed jurisdictions, patients receiving naturopathic care can expect the practitioner to be held to high standards, established by state or provincial law. As alternative therapies become more integrated in nature, conventional medicine will face new challenges. Licensed naturopathic physicians are trained sufficiently to play an active role in this new primary health care team. Although the exact role has yet to be determined, the eclectic approach taken by naturopathic physicians may be of benefit in this evolutionary process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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