Studies & Degrees in Natural Medicine
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Natural Medicine is also referred to as Naturopathy, or Naturopathic Medicine. It deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of various diseases and disorders through the therapeutic use of natural methods and materials. These could include, Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy, Hygiene, Naturopathic Manipulation, Clinical Nutrition, or ancient medical systems like those of China or India.
Natural therapists usually perform tasks like analyzing the patient's eating habits and creating personalized nutrition plans; applying organic techniques to stimulate the body’s ability for self-healing; prescribing natural medicines like herbal remedies, vitamin compounds and mineral supplements. They could also apply iris diagnostics to analyze and treat illness in various organs of the body, or manually manipulate the patient’s body to correct postural, muscular, or skeletal disorders.
Natural medicine follows some strict principles, some of which include ‘first do no harm’, ‘identify and treat the cause’ (which means not simply suppressing symptoms of the disease), ‘heal the whole person’, ‘physician as teacher’, and other similar ones, stressing on the wholesomeness of the individual and his or her connection with the surrounding world.
In order to pursue this area of study and practice, you need to be truly convinced in the healing power of nature as well as the principles that natural medicine follows. Other important qualities are as follows:
Patient, sympathetic, and compassionate nature
True desire to help people achieve good health
Commitment to promoting preventive medicine as a complement to conventional ways of treatment
Excellent communication skills
Flexibility and open-mindedness
Able to deal well with skepticism and different kinds of personalities
There are many opportunities to study natural medicine. There are a lot of specialized colleges that offer courses in natural medicine, but you should be careful to first check whether after completing such a degree you would be certified to practice in your chosen location. This is why it would be best to seek out an accredited institution that offers a good range of undergraduate, postgraduate, and diploma options to meet all of your needs.
Furthermore, because there are many branches that natural medicine covers, the college should be flexible enough to guide you towards the specialization that is going to be most suitable to you. Make sure it also provides students with a sound background in classical medicine, as this will ensure you have a well-rounded vision of how the human system works. The research activity of your chosen university is also crucial, and this is even more important if you are looking to pursue a master’s, or a doctorate degree, for example.
Natural medicine practitioners usually have their own practice, where they work with patients on an appointment basis. You could also find employment in a specialized clinic, or become a professor at a college or university, but what is most important is that there are different fields in which you can specialize. Here they are:
Homeopath – a homeopath concentrates on the individual’s whole physical and emotional environment, rather than taking only the symptoms of the illness; then they prescribe medicines and therapeutic measures to assist the natural tendency of the body to heal itself.
Aromatherapist – psychological and physical health is promoted through the use of therapeutic plant oils and essential oils, which are either applied on the individual’s body, or inhaled
Herbalist – this is a person, who prepares natural remedies, according to each person’s health profile; these remedies are given in the form of teas, tinctures, extracts, or capsules.
There are a few other specializations, too, like Chinese medicine, or acupuncture, but the most important fact to remember is that it is a very responsible profession and one should be fully trained in order to practice it.