My biggest regret during naturopathic medical school

What I’m about to tell you may sound very simple and perhaps even silly, but it’s not. If I could do anything over the past four years differently, I would have specialized training in some sort of physical therapy modality. I’m planning to return to an unlicensed state, where naturopathic doctors cannot even perform physical exams or touch their patients. They’re to be strictly natural health consultant.
My Arizona medical license will cover me to practice acupuncture and physical medicine in the state of Arizona. Some ND’s in Maryland went to SCNM when the Acupuncture certification program was optional and an extra year. These ND’s have a BUSY clinic and are able to see two to three patients at a time. How? They stagger the appointment times:

2:00 – acupuncture patient comes in, do acupuncture intake, put needles in.

2:15 – naturopathic follow up appointment comes in, follow up and treatment is provided in 30 minutes.

2:45 – naturopathic follow up patient happily leaves office with treatment sheet in hand.

3:00 – acupuncture needles are removed and acupuncture patient happily leaves office.

These doctors are able to see more patients, and are able to provide more than just diet, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations.

I did specialized training in Mayan Uterine Massage while I was here, but I still need to practice more before I feel comfortable providing this therapy to my patients. If I could go back in time, I would have received this training earlier in my career and been on shifts where the attendings were trained in uterine massage so I could practice on patients. Or, I would have received training in craniosacral manipulation. I had the pleasure of helping an MD in DC practice craniosacral on one of his patients and the entire experience was incredible and I was full of regret for not taking seminars in it while I was a student so that I could offer it to my patients as another service. Some of my friends have training in applied kinesiology, or IV therapy, while others are staying in Arizona and are taking courses in prolothearpy and PRP where they’ll be able to provide those services.

If you’re planning on practicing in the uncharted areas of an unlicensed state, make sure to shadow doctors out there early on so you can see how they keep their clinics busy and help people. Think about your future practice and what tools you want to be able to treat your patients. I think there’s something very healing in a doctor being fully present and providing healing touch to their patients.


4 thoughts on “My biggest regret during naturopathic medical school

  1. In life you have to give up something to get something. If you state that, “I think there’s something very healing in a doctor being fully present and providing healing touch to their patients.”, then perhaps you should practice in a licensed state. What is the point of going through all this schooling and paying the money not to use it? Food for thought.

    • Hi Chris, I’m making my decision to practice in an unlicensed state with the goal of helping unlicensed states become licensed. They won’t get licensed if there are no NDs in practice there. Although, during residency this next year I’m contemplating getting training in craniosacral therapy which would allow me to touch my patients :). Thanks for the feedback though, it’s something I really struggle with- our education vs what the government allows us to do.

      • Well, giving up something to get something goes both ways. So in other words, you are giving up the right to practice as you wish so you can help the profession. Very noble. I sincerely wish you best!

    • Hi Chris,
      It just hit me that I failed to give you the most important reason for my wanting to practice in an unlicensed state – which is to be near my family and friends. It’s actually a very selfish reason compared to wanting to get unlicesed states licensed, but I figure, while I’m there, why not work towards that goal? Haha,
      Be well,

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