The naturopathic medical research agenda: The future and foundation of naturopathic medical sciences

Bastyr University, School of Naturopathic Medicine, 14500 Juanita Dr NE, Kenmore WA 98028, USA.
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.52). 05/2006; 12(3):341-5. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2006.12.341
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Naturopaths are an increasingly significant part of the healthcare sector in Australia, yet despite their significant role there has been little research on this practitioner group. Currently the naturopathic profession in Australia is undergoing a period of rapid professional growth and change. However, to date most research exploring the perceptions of naturopaths has been descriptive in nature and has focused on those in leadership positions rather than grassroots practitioners. This article explores the perceptions and experiences of practising naturopaths on the challenges and future directions of their profession. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 naturopaths practising in the Darling Downs region of South-east Queensland, Australia to explore current perceived challenges in the naturopathic profession in Australia. RESULTS: Participants perceived a number of internal and external challenges relating to the profession of naturopathic medicine. These included a public misconception of the role of naturopathic medicine; the co-option of naturopathic medicine by untrained or unqualified practitioners; the devaluation of naturopathic philosophy as a core component of naturopathic practice; a pressure to move towards an evidence-based medicine model focused on product prescription; the increasing commercial interest infiltrating complementary medicine, and; division and fragmentation within the naturopathic profession. Naturopaths generally perceived government regulation as a solution for many of these challenges, though this may be representative of deeper frustrations and disconnections between the views of grassroots naturopaths and those in professional leadership positions. CONCLUSIONS: Grassroots naturopaths identify a number of challenges that may have significant impacts on the quality, effectiveness and safety of naturopathic care. Given the significant role naturopaths play in healthcare in Australia the practice and policy implications of these challenges require further research attention.
    BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 01/2013; 13(1):15. DOI:10.1186/1472-6882-13-15 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Naturopathy is a distinct type of primary care medicine that blends age-old healing traditions with scientific advances and current research. Naturopathy is guided by a unique set of principles that recognize the body's innate healing capacity, emphasize disease prevention, and encourage individual responsibility to obtain optimal health. Naturopathic treatment modalities include diet and clinical nutrition, behavioral change, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, botanical medicine, physical medicine, pharmaceuticals, and minor surgery. Naturopathic physicians (NDs) are trained as primary care physicians in 4-year, accredited doctoral-level naturopathic medical schools. At present, there are 15 US states, 2 US territories, and several provinces in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand that recognize licensure for NDs.
    Primary care 03/2010; 37(1):119-36. DOI:10.1016/j.pop.2009.09.002 · 0.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Complementary medicine research, including naturopathic medicine research, is plagued with many methodological challenges. Many of these challenges have also been experienced in public health research. Public health research has met these challenges with a long history of multidisciplinary, multimethod, and whole systems approaches to research that may better resonate with the ?real world? clinical settings of naturopathic medicine. Additionally, many of the underlying principles of naturopathic medicine are analogous to the underlying principles and activities of public health, specifically in such areas as health promotion, prevention, patient education, and proactive rather than reactive approaches to disease management and treatment. Future research in the field of naturopathic medicine may benefit from adopting public health research models rather than focusing exclusively on biomedical models. A complementary and collaborative relationship between these fields may provide an opportunity to deliver research that more accurately reflects naturopathic medicine practice, as well as providing the opportunity to improve health outcomes more generally.
    Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) 11/2011; 17(11):1079-84. DOI:10.1089/acm.2010.0830 · 1.52 Impact Factor

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