Natural Healthcare Providers
A healthcare provider or healthcare practitioner is typically described as a, doctor of medicine or osteopathy, chiropractor, clinical psychologist, dentist, optometrist, osteopath, podiatrist, nurse practitioner, and nurse-midwife. In some cases, a clinical social worker who is authorized to practice by the State and performs within the scope of their practice as defined by their state’s law, or a Christian Science practitioner, can also be recognized as a healthcare provider.
An acupuncturist is a person, physician, chiropractor, or layperson who is a practitioner of acupuncture. The English word acupuncture was coined in the 17th century to describe the 2,000+ year old Chinese treatment where an acupuncturist inserts extremely fine needles into specific points on the body for pain management, illnesses, diseases and conditions such as insomnia, depression, smoking, and being overweight.
Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and applies ancient theories of bodily energy called meridians. Meridians are invisible energy pathways or channels that run through the body. Western medicine and doctors have not traditionally recognized acupuncture as a viable form of healthcare for different reasons including, the concept of meridians does not easily translate into Western medical terms. Even though attempts to explain its effects in Western scientific terms have not been successful, it is widely recognized by doctors and veterinarians as a good source for pain management and other health issues. While acupuncture based on TCM is probably the most widespreadly practiced in the United States, there are a diverse range of acupuncture theories and techniques that vary between the different countries where these practices developed.
A chiropractor is a practitioner of chiropractic, the system of integrative medicine based on the diagnosis and manipulative treatment of misalignments of the joints. Chiropractic is considered to be an alternative form of medicine that is mostly concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Proponents of chiropractic care tend to focus on manual adjustments to the spine through vertebral subluxation and manipulations of other joints and soft tissues.
Chiropractors are not medical doctors even though many of them refer to themselves as primary care providers. Much of mainstream medicine refers to chiropractic as a pseudoscience and does not acknowledge it as a reliable treatment for conditions other than for back pain, even though it is a well-established form of healthcare in the United States, Canada and Australia
A naturopath, or a doctor of naturopathy, is educated and trained at an accredited naturopathic medical college. Naturopathic medicine is considered to be a distinct primary health care profession that emphasizes prevention, treatment, and optimal health by trying to stimulate the body’s inherent self-healing process through the use of therapeutic methods and substances. A naturopath applies modern and traditional, scientific, and empirical methods to their studies and treatment of their patients, and takes into account an individual’s physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, spiritual, and other factors.
An osteopath is an osteopathic physician who has been trained in the field of osteopathic medicine and has the title, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). A DO is fully trained and licensed, and is considered to be equal, legally, and has the authority to diagnose and treat various health conditions, prescribe medications, and perform surgeries, that a medical doctor (MD) does. A primary difference between a DO and an MD is their approach and focus of the medical education they receive. The education of a DO emphasizes treating the patient as a whole person, and their body’s connection between the musculoskeletal system and disease and symptoms. DOs receive 300 – 500 hours of specialized osteopathic training in addition to the same curriculum as an MD goes through during medical school.
A homeopath is a person who practices homeopathy, or homeopathic medicine, which is a medical system that was developed in Germany in the late 1700s. Homeopathy is based on two main theories. One is the notion that a disease can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy people, or the idea that, “like cures like.” The second theory is the idea that the lower the dose of a medication, the greater will be its effectiveness. Many homeopathic products are diluted to the point that no molecules of the substance actually remain. This is often referred to the “law of minimum dose.” Homeopathic products come from plants, minerals and animals, and are often administered in the form of sugar pellets to be dissolved under the tongue, or in ointments, gels, drops, creams and tablets.
A herbalist is a practitioner of herbalism, or a dealer of medicinal herbs. Herbalism is the study of botany to be able to use plants with medicinal properties to treat patients. Plants have been used as medical treatments throughout human history and this kind of traditional medicine is still practiced today. Modern medicine uses plant-derived compounds for pharmaceutical drugs. The scope of herbal medicine sometimes includes fungal and bee products, minerals, shells and some animal parts.
A massage therapist works and acts on the body by using pressure via direct contact. Massage therapists are professionally trained and give massage to patients using the therapist’s hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearms, feet and/or devices. There are many different styles, techniques and philosophies of massage that come from many different parts of the world. Patients, often referred to as clients, typically receive a massage in professional settings while lying on a massage table, sitting in a massage chair, or while lying on the floor.