Background: Although use of complementary and alternative medicine is growing in the US, little is known about the practice of CAM providers, including naturopathic physicians. In this study, the remedies recommended by naturopathic physicians in Connecticut and Washington were described and compared.
Methods: A secondary analysis of data describing treatments provided at consecutive patient visits from a random sample of licensed naturopathic physicians. Frequencies of recommended remedies (i.e., recommended vitamins and minerals, botanical substances, food-based therapies, and homeopathic interventions) were examined and compared between states.
Results: Ninety-nine practitioners recorded treatment recommendations on a total of 1817 patient visits. Vitamins, minerals, botanicals, therapeutic diets, therapeutic foods and homeopathic remedies were the major remedy categories. Naturopathic physicians in Washington and Connecticut prescribed vitamins, minerals, and therapeutic foods in a similar manner, whereas remedy recommendations for botanicals and homeopathics were highly individualized.
Discussion: This study provides a baseline to which future data can be compared to identify changes in remedy recommendation patterns of naturopathic medicine practitioners.
Karen R. Ball, ND, MPH Bastyr University Kenmore, Washington
Keywords: naturopathic medicine, botanical, homeopathic, diet, therapeutic foods, vitamins, minerals