YES and YES. A large body of research exists and continues to be published that shows that Naturopathic Medicine offers tremendous health benefit to patients. There are literally thousands of medical journal research papers that support the use of natural medicines. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH), the Institute of Functional Medicine, Harvard Medical school’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine are some of the world’s foremost medical research centers that conduct and support research on complementary health products and practices. CLICK HERE to see a recent summary of research showing the benefits of Naturopathic medicine to patients, health agencies and governments.
Naturopathic doctors embrace research similar to conventional doctors do. Similar to any conventional medical program, Naturopathic medical schools teach an evidence-based medical approach. NDs follow conventional guidelines when it comes to performing physical exams, ordering blood work, and making diagnoses for patients. NDs are taught to follow the standard of care in medicine, consult medical journals, and look through the current research when determining a patient’s treatment plan.
It is important to note that NOT every treatment recommended by conventional medical doctors is backed by sound scientific research or double-blind placebo studies. Some conventional guidelines are not backed by sound science (e.g. taking baby aspirin for prevention of heart disease and statin drugs to lower blood cholesterol) and may subject the patient to additional side effects. Naturopathic doctors will utilize modern research but also traditional wisdom and evolutionary biology, as well as clinical and personal experiences in coming up with a treatment plan.
Some natural medicine methods, like acupuncture although are not suited for double blind placebo controlled studies, are proven by the results they have achieved over hundreds of years. New standards in research are now being implemented that show benefits of acupuncture and other naturopathic treatments not easily researched using traditional scientific standards.
Finally, guidelines based on research is rooted in interpretation of evidence which evolves over time and as doctors we recommend what we believe to be the best treatment for each patient at the time.