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november 2006

Salem business Journal

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fancy In the program, conventional healthcare. The expertise Physicians Understandingly, technology, untouched by modern advances. four to six students medical businesses are seeking more choices with regard to medical care, choices that can both improve health and potentially save money. The National Institute of Heath (NIH) states that more than 36% of Americans are now using alternative health products and services, including visits to chiropractors, acupuncturists, and naturopathic physicians as well as vitamin and supplement therapy. The supplement industry alone is a $21.3 billion growth industry in the US. breakthroughs, and the hype about genetic mapping as a cure-all, we continue to be faced with the rising tide of epidemics like obesity and diabetes which seem to be It’s no news that consumers and businesses are increasingly pinched by the rising costs of health insurance, prescription drugs, and technologically advanced (and expensive) procedures. And despite the Among the “alternative” healthcare models, Oregon is a leader in the growth and widespread acceptance of Naturopathic Medicine as a common sense approach to Oregon is home to the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM), the oldest of only four accredited naturopathic medical schools in the country. the of consumers are trained curriculums year postgraduate naturopathic pharmaceutical and in like naturopathic Medicine healthcare Perspectives: Dawson Farr, ND pathology, biochemistry and pharmacology, but additionally are educated about more fundamental treatments like herbal medicine, diet modification and therapeutic vitamin supplementation. healthcare vs. disease-care Conventional medicine is called allopathic medicine – meaning “opposite [of] disease.” For example if you have a bacterial infection, you’re given an anti-biotic. Critics of this type of treatment claim that allopathy often equates to merely treating symptoms (disease-care) and rarely improving health or treating the cause of disease (health-care). But even more important than what treatments are taught at naturopathic medical schools is how these treatments are applied by naturopathic physicians. While disease-care type of symptom management may be convenient for busy medical practitioners, it rarely equates to improved health. And with the widespread use of pharmaceutical drugs, it can often lead to side “effects” that in turn lead to In Oregon and 13 other states, Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are licensed healthcare professionals who must pass rigorous standardized national tests and are trained as primary care physicians. In Oregon, NDs are qualified to prescribe many common pharmaceutical drugs, can perform minor surgery, and can even deliver babies with additional certification. NDs also firmly believe that the human body has the ability to “fix” itself given the chance: health will occur where the conditions for health exist. The naturopathic physician’s role is to help patients create or recreate conditions for health to exist within them by supporting the body and giving it gentle nudges to help it heal. Combining simple interventions like herbal therapy, manipulation or diet changes together can lead to powerful effects. While this may take more time (office visits last an average of 45 minutes), the end result is improved health, not just absence of disease. This common sense, more traditional approach to healthcare is becoming increasingly recognized as an important part of our healthcare model. downstream health complications that need further, increasingly expensive, medical interventions. Because most human diseases are the result of a complex interaction between genetics and environment, a fundamental principle of naturopathic medicine is treat the patient as a whole person rather than as a set of symptoms, and always ask the question, “are we just masking the symptoms or treating the cause?” ND’s will often try to modify environmental factors such as lifestyle, diet, stress, emotions and immunity. According to an article in the peer-

reviewed Journal of Family Practice, more than 70 companies, trade unions and state organizations offer health plans that cover naturopathic medical services, including Oregon’s Public Employee Benefits Board and such giants as Microsoft and Boeing.

NDs are increasingly covered as specialists and primary care providers by third-party insurance payers (such as Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield).

And NDs are beginning to have staff privileges at approximately 20 conventional hospitals and integrated clinics around the country (“Naturopathic Medicine: What

can patients expect? Practice, Dec ’05).

” Journal of Family

Far from being “alternative,” naturopathic medicine is a good first choice for individuals and businesses interested in improving health and preventing disease.

Dawson Farr, ND practices in Salem with Groundswell Integrative Healthcare, a medical practice dedicated to integrating the best in natural and modern medicine. He offers 15 minute free consultations which can be scheduled by calling 503-363-0524.

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