Herbal medicine instructor Rowena Conahan teaching basic botanical concepts and field ID
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In Michigan alone, there are hundreds of traditional naturopaths enjoying their own private practices, or working within integrated clinics with others. Many have been successfully working for over 20 years, serving our state population of nearly 10 million people.
Needless to say, more trained naturopaths are going to be working successfully, and the trend around the country is of increased interest in seeking out the trained traditional naturopath for help, opinions, treatment, services, and consultation.
Here is an actual version of a common question, along with my actual answer - about practicing and licensure issues:
Q ~ Since the state of Michigan is not a licensed state by the "American Association of Naturopathic Physicians" , is the diploma given to your students the same as other programs in other states? I read the part of your website that said licensure is simply permission by the government to practice. I am just wondering how your school's education is different from another school's education. Assuming I would start my own private practice, how does your program differ from say Bastyr University? Thank you for your time. I am really trying to figure out where I want to take my education.
A ~ We are a traditional naturopath school. The majority of students oriented to this field are seeking a traditional naturopath education, not a medical education. There are numerous other traditional naturopath schools in other states, and also 5 "medical" naturopathy schools. They are not all lumped in together, and different people (students and potential practitioners) prefer one approach or the other.
The type of physician you are referring to- there are about 9 in Michigan and of course others elsewhere- they all work and have practices, licensure is not a barrier to successful work and practice. If the allopathic type training is what you are attracted to, you would be able to practice anywhere, as they all clearly do. You could also consider Medical School, which teaches a different curriclum than our naturopathic school teaches. Medical Doctors are not trained in naturopathy.
I suggest strongly that you take a close comparitive look at the two websites and two approaches.
Bastyr is a medical school.
Our school is a Traditional Naturopathy school.
Two kinds of naturopathy have evolved side by side since 1945, or perhaps later in the 1970's when the bio-medical model of naturopathy was strongly developed and pushed by a small Pacific coast contingency of practitioners, evolving into a "medical" naturopath orientation.
Our school is strongly in the camp of evolving, protecting, and perpetuating Traditional Naturopathy education and practice.
We will continue to practice and flourish regardless of whether medical naturopaths attain licensure in Michigan, and we have expressed support for their efforts to gain licensure as long as they do not include legislative language to prevent us from practicing. Thus far they have been unsuccessful in that due to our efforts to educate the state legislators.
Bear in mind there are two state licensed schools here in Michigan for Traditional Naturopathy, and over 300 practitioners. 25% of our student body are crossovers from the medical model world , having had substantial careers before making the decision to study and eventually practice pure, classical, traditional, evidence based naturopathy - which looks beyond the medical
diagnoses model for answers.
As a side note, I have over the years had numerous visits from former patients/clients of the local medical naturopaths, from people who had not been helped, and met several grads from the medical naturopath schools who were struggling to pay their 100,000$ tuition debts and wish they would have taken the traditional naturopath route. That said, you must make the choice you resonate with and explore who you are and how you see yourself, and how you imagine helping others in the future.
Naturopaths in Michigan are organized into several professional associations, including the American Naturopath's Association
. There are two established state licensed Naturopathy schools in the state, making Naturopathy an economic as well as cultural presence.
Traditional Naturopathy is a respected force that is only going to grow and more deeply establish roots in our culture, once again.
Here we share some frequently asked questions about naturopathy practice, entering the school, curriculum, and other related topics.
This will help you make an informed decision about our programs and their potential fit for prospective students.
Hours and Schedule:
We know our schedule may not be "one size fits all". Taking this pathway infers that the student is ready to make some changes in his/her life, and to make commitments- the same as those one would make for any college, university, or medical school.
Our schedule includes a handful of Week-Days every year, along with Friday -Sunday intensive weekends, ten times per year (not every weekend!) Every day, every hour of an intensive program such as ours counts, and brings potential understanding, experience, guidance, and wisdom. Our on-premises clock hours are designed to offer hands-on supervised experiences which make best use of the resources of the school. We don't waste time, and there is often no optimal way to re-gain what is missed, if time is missed. Spotty attendance will essentially lead to the need to arrange make-up work, or lead to dismissal. We expect prompt arrival to all classes, and record attendance for every class gathering,
Financial Issues before and during School
Prospective students should be prepared to pay their tuition prior to applying for admittance. Our students have financed their tuition by working, saving, through bank/credit union loans, and in some cases through the Michgan Works program- which has proved to be a long process for some students.
NSHA would like to share that we encourage our students to earn money as Student Practitioners, as soon as they are trained in certain services, keeping within the parameters of those services, and as they expand.
What this means is that our students can and do earn money with this work while they are in school, after a certain skill level has been achieved, and while offering approved modalities- and, prior to graduation, they must present themselves transparently as STUDENTS At Student Rates - to any and all individuals or groups. We offer a specific Template/Form for the design of brochures, cards and flyers to provide approved wording.
Students are encouraged to make their own choices about whether or not to work with the public offering student services at student rates, and in their own time, after being authorized by NSHA to begin. There is no expectation that all of our students must work with the public charging student rates prior to graduation.
Students who follow this path may potentially offset their expenses, while building experience in the real world of clients, health care, business practices for a future business, and therepeutic presence. Currently many of our students are seeing several people per week for a variety of services.
What do graduates of NSHA programs do?
This program prepares individuals to offer consultations and a variety of health services in private or group practice. The education also enriches many other kinds of health care practitioners using integrated approaches.
Our ND interns, who are half-way through their middle year, are beginning to do consultations in their own time with individuals who come to them for help, or are referred to them. In so doing, they are able to offer a variety of adjunct health services which they have practiced in the past year and a half, during field work and supervised student clinic. Thus, they are working and beginning to build up their own unique private practice.
What type of Naturopathy training and education do you offer?
We encounter a lot of confusion between traditional naturopathy- which we focus on preserving- and naturopathic "medical " education. Here is a link wherein this important concept is explained fully, and with clarity: http://drlindapage.typepad.com/healthyhealing/2009/07/what-is-a-traditional-naturopath-.html
Another very helpful source of information and support is the American Naturoapth's Association, with much wisdom shared at : http://www.americannaturopathsassociation.org/
Do you have "textbooks"?
The books we select for students to read are not meant to be "textbooks" in the old obsolete manner of manufactured education. Be aware that the field is emerging and evolving, and there is no difinitive "last word" on naturopathy, which is a multidimensional healing pathway.
NSHA selects books from sources which correlate with current areas of study, so that students progressing through the 3 year program have support in further understanding key concepts which are covered in class, and an understanding beyond that which is "covered in class". Unless one is actually and actively in the class, where work and processes are practiced, they may not initially understand how these selections ultimately integrate into the learning objectives.
Be aware also that we avoid certain books that promote allopathic models of medical naturopathy so as to present a classical form of traditional naturopathy.
In short, the books we recommend for reading and study are not the typical "textbooks" familar to the public school system.
Please give an overview of the Massage Therapy program at NSHA
Naturopaths - the healers of humanity throughout most of historical time- were the first types of practitioners who employed massage in a therapeutic manner - massage is one of the "pillars of naturopathy". Due to the extensive background of massage therapy training and experience of our core faculty members, and the fact that some basic massage curriculum content is taught within the ND program, a classical yet progressive option for a Massage Therapy program, leading to entitlement for licensure and National Certification, evolved out of the growth of NSHA. This program focuses on teaching students to employ massage techniques in a therapeutic manner, while integrating evidence based natural therapeutics supportive to treatment outcomes.
How does your school differ from other schools of this kind?
There are actually very few schools of our kind- only a handful in the country- by that we mean a hands-on, on premises, experiential school. Naturopathic School of the Healing Arts is committed to traditional Naturopathy education and practice.
We are not a medical school, as in "naturopathic medical" school. Such schools have different curriculums which follow the allopathic medical model as their paradigm, and require medical pre-requisites for admission. See the American Naturopaths Association website for further insight.
We believe a genuine and authoritative education in this field, one that will serve you for the future, as this field grows, and public awareness and discernment evolves, is derived from a minimum 3 or 4 year program in living classrooms, providing on- premise clock hours, with living experienced teachers mentoring and guiding in living educational processes.
You can best understand health and healing responses through living, hands-on education, mentored throughout the program duration by teachers with long term clinical experience. We show, demonstrate, practice and directly experience, with living people, a variety of assessment and treatment methods utilized in the art and science of natural healing.
We encourage the individual prospective student to attend different classes and open houses as you journey towards your decision. We offer the opportunity to drop in and visit the school during classes.
We bring in new teachers from outside of our system, to bring fresh flow and perspective to the learning experience, and to assist the school and the students in the development of professional discernment and intellectual inquiry. We strive to create a peaceful, supported, and inspiring experience for you to explore and follow your passion, while requiring high academic achievement under the personal guidance of our highly experienced teachers.
Are there prerequisites or co-requisites to program participation?
There are ONLY CO REQUISITES, which may be completed while enrolled. Students must successfully complete a co-requisite of a physical, "in class" Anatomy and Physiology of basic community college level Anatomy and Physiology. (A cadaver dissection class is not required)
Should a co-requisite be indicated, the student must enroll in the required course by or before the January following enrollment, and successfully complete the course prior to the beginning of their second year in our program.
Another additional co-requisite for ALL STUDENTS is completion of a First Aid-CPR training. These training certifications are offered through the Red Cross, and also American Heart Association. Naturopathic School does not arrange this for students- it is a co-requisite outside of our program, required for achievement of the ND diploma.
An additional co-req is Personal Process Care, which students may begin after their first 3 months of classes are completed.
How much bodywork training is in the Naturopathy program?
We receive this general question frequently from massage therapists who are interested in expanding their training into Traditional Naturopathy. Within an approved 2,160 hour diploma program curriculum, we spend about 50 hours teaching and practicing forms of naturoapthic physical medicine, bodywork, and therapeutic massage classically associated with the work of a natural physician.
We find that the forms, and the APPROACH, as well as the focus and intention of our naturopathic bodywork training is not the same as that offered in conventional massage therapy schools. We offer this portion of the training very early in the program- the first part of the first year- and it is as much for personal, transformational development of communications and presence as for "technique". NSHA does not accept credit for any previous training in the healing arts field- with the exception of waiving the A & P co-requisite for recent (within 3 years, transcript-0 backed) A & P training elsewhere.
How much studying is required?
Prepare to be able to spend a minimum of 10-12 hours a week. This translates to around 1.5 hours a day. Be aware that this is a professional development program designed to educate and train for professional level work. Compare the level of study to that of participation in a university or college.
Prospective students who wish proceed hrough the program for self enrichment only, may wish to consider the "audit" option, which does not require completion of assignments and does not convey a diploma. This option works well for those who wish to join with like-minded others in the inspiring study of natural medicine, without the added responsibility of full program participation.
Assignments include reading for discussion and test comprehension, projects, and field work. Many of our high achieving students also elect to engage in study groups and outside tutorials. Study, assignment completion, and reading beyond the class gatherings are vital to program achievement..
Any student wishing to switch to a diploma track, after first selecting the "audit" track, will apply and pay a Transfer Costs of $1,000.00 for status in the diploma program, as well as exam and class make-up fees.
Is there accreditation?
The American Naturopaths Association is currently working with NSHA to accredit the School. Please be aware that the School offers quality education in the field of traditional naturopathy- a rare find. The State of Michigan puts us through a process similar to accreditation as they grant us a license. The diploma(s) you earn through NSHA are of great value in the field.
The American Naturopaths Association accredits us through a process integrates the accomplishments and standards NSHA as a state licensed school - which generally must achieve very high consumer and legal standards to exist- with RELEVANT curriculum , examination, and continuing education cntent and standards.
The process by which our school obtained a license to operate is similar to many "accreditation" processes, requiring the exact same applications, inspections, surety bonds, examination of all documents, scrutiny of legal contracts and wording, curriculum justfication, and lastly, fees.
On the one hand- our school offers high quality education and training which cannot be found in universities and colleges. It is up to individual universities and colleges to accept your credit for your successful completion in our programs.
What kinds of jobs are available to graduates?
First of all, we encourage readers to move away from "black and white" thinking on matters of jobs and job descriptions. The holistic health care field has for many years offered a sense of creative self-definition to those who integrate their background of experience and training. You are not stuck in a pigeonhole or a narrow scope of practice.
An education in traditional naturopathy may move you closer to the profession of your choice- ranging from master herbalist, traditional naturopath, CAM provider, consultant in natural healing, iridologist, healing diets specialist, bodyworker, and more.
For the most part, our current students plan to offer services through private practice or within group practices with like-minded people. Our students tend to seek out this path because they want to make a difference in the world, have some fundamental understanding of natural healing, and wish to take their passion into the world and allow it to unfold and help others.
The school has created an on-premises clinic (New Life Energies Clinic) so that naturopath interns may begin to practice into their second year. Our students are earning an income doing so now. We particularly encourage group practices, as there is strength and support in numbers, and to that end we duplicate this atmosphere within the actual training by Year Two.
Other students plan to make changes or additions within their current service offerings, as well as promote themselves within current positions as a result of their advanced level of education. The more education and experience one offers the community, the more marketable they are.
We know, and our students know, that naturopathy and natural healing continues to be an evolving field and discipline. Hands-on training and supervised clinical experience have gained ascendancy over online training and correspondence courses. More than anything- our students are enrolled and committed because of their passion and belief in the principles and practices of natural healing - and their awareness that a private school with decades of clinical experience behind the curriculum can provide the education they seek.
I have graduated from a massage school. Can I test out of portions of your program?
While we unable accept, (with one exception) for credit or tuition deduction, any portion of training from any other program, we do honor the fact that any previous training and experience you may have has the potential to help you develop and deepen your overall healing skills in the process of learning naturopathy practice and becoming a natural physician - including those of focus, creativity, and nuance.
The exception- we are able to accept successful completion of an A & P training within one year or less in relation to your entry into our program. NSHA would require an official transcript from your previous school to evaluate.
Our current students include MD's, RN's, massage therapists and other healing arts practitioners who may have had exposure to healing arts training of different kinds in the past- along with students from all other walks of life.
Our program is one of personal and professional development specifically to this field of practice. We support lifelong learning and continuing education in the healing arts.
What about credit from previous home study courses?
We encourage anyone who has either taken online courses. or considered them to now consider the great difference it makes to study and develop your career within a supportive, hands-on, experiential learning community.
Clayton College, (a fully online education business) which recently abruptly closed for good, may have been a harbinger in our changing times wherein natural health care takes its place along side of other health care choices. As public awareness increases and public demand with it, our communities will naturally prefer those who have received supervised, hands-on education with clinical internships.
Your past participation in an online course will prepare you to be a better student-- however, our program does not offer advanced placement of any kind, as all students benefit from our entire program, which is a process oriented, living program of personal and professional development.
How does your school compare to medical school?
We train in true health care for the traditional naturopathy model of practice- medical school does not offer this at all.
Conventional medical school is allopathic education, training for disease management using pharmaceutical drugs and surgery. This is not, nor do we aspire it to be, our scope of practice and education. That said, our program is varied, academically demanding, current with evolving standards of natural health care and natural health protocols. We provide clinical training, "Green Rounds", exams, and practical exams.
Medical professionals are welcome to consider our program of traditional naturopathy, to enrich, and integrate with their current modes of practice.
Tell me about the format of the school and what may be required of students going through the program
We gather for experiential teachings in classical applied naturopathic theory and practice. The entire program has an intensive nature, designed to immerse oneself in learning experiences when classes meet, and then reflectively complete assignments in between class sessions. For some, taking a few preparatory classes, and/ or committing to the first year, are excellent foundational steps. It may be helpful to some students, although it is not a requirement of the School, to take the required co-requisite of A & P through a college or university prior to enrolling- for the knowledge base this will offer, as well as lessening study load.
Be aware that there are clinical experiences with the public built within the program, including experiences to develop skills in Education and Counsel.
Students should be prepared to allocate 6-8 hours per week of personal study time outside of class in order to do well in this program, due to the reading, assignments, and projects that are required. There is required homework to complete in between our monthly meeting times. We require a minimum 80% or higher grade to pass the program. We maintain records and evaluations of individual students at the school. .
Students should be prepared to pursue tutorials of subjects they find challenging- this approach is also common in college, medical school, and within other intensive healing arts programs.
The program is one of professional development- we encourage participants to evolve into the therapeutic presence as the program unfolds. Be prepared to purchase any needed equipment, such as a massage table, basic iris analysis tools (flashlight and loop), books and notebooks, learning supports, hydrotherapy supports, and other tools of the trade and tools of personal practice, as you transform into a skilled practitioner.
May we audiotape or videotape classes?
Our classes involve confidential dynamics and student processes, and we do not allow recording devices of any kind to record live classes. This caveat also applies to students who are missing class for any reason.
Students are being trained to listen, respond to, and engage in the real world - in client care one would not record. Learning to listen, focus, and pay attention is part of our training.
What are admissions qualifications?
Please see our Admissions page
Do you teach different therapies?
Yes, we teach our students to understand, demonstrate, apply, and choose among the many different therapeutic applications within the Naturopath's "medicine kit" and traditional scope of practice as it has been for generations.
Students who are educated in the application of applied natural therapeutics will not have the need to rely on gadgets and expensive machines in order to bring about healing outcomes. In most all cases, very simple processes which can be duplicated within the client's own home are utilized.
These therapeutic applications include but are not limited to a variety of compresses, fomentations, poultices, soaks, herbal therapies, botanical/essential oil therapies, Hydrotherapy, bodywork therapies (Naturopathic physical medicine and massage), some movement therapies, energy work, dietary approaches (including cultured, traditional, pastured and raw foods, as well as herbal nourishment), Iris Assessment, soft tissue evaluation, and more.
Additionally, students are guided in learning and practicing all aspect of herbology, medicinal herbal study, Herbal Pharmacy and Dispensary, apothecary skills- you will be able to produce therapeutic herbal formulations from seed to bottle or capsule yourself, if you wish, knowing the full scope and ramifications of the herbal quality and action.
What financial aid is available ?
Refer to the page on this site titled "Financial Planning". The School offers a payment plan- request this information with your catalog. We recommend that students who need loans seek out private loans through credit unions or through their bank, or through other channels.
Additionally, prospective students may be eligible for financial aid through the Michigan Works program. www.MichiganWorks.org . Our School does not administer this program- applicants must contact their local agency.
What do naturopaths do?
Many of our students have, or will pursue, multiple trainings. The foundation of what we do includes
~ offering consultations for family health and healing
~ teaching within the community about natural healing
~ consulting with companies about natural health products
~ maintaining a private practice for the purpose of helping clients
~ working within an integrated clinic as the voice of natural healing
protocols and methods, as consultant, practitioner, teacher.
~ taking emerging professional pathways, such as naturopathic pet care
Our blogs, newsletter, and other media give good insight into the workday of a naturopath. Also check out the information at www.gaiaherbalstudies.net, which gives insight into medicinal herbal practice and study.
Is a license necessary to practice?
No. There are approximately 15,000 naturopaths in the country, actively and sucessfully practicing, some for decades. We do not seek licensure, which is governmental "permission" to do something.
We seek enactment of a Health Freedoms Act or legislative bill which would resolve for our citizens the freedom to choose among a variety of health care practitioners- we already have that freedom, however a legislative bill would put it in writing, protecting our freedoms from being taken away in the future.
Meanwhile naturopaths have practiced for hundreds of years and will continue to. While we do not seek licensure (which is "permission" to do something, not to be confused with a guarantee of training, skill, experience, or ideology),we at Naturopathic School of Ann Arbor are strong advocates of professionalism, hands-on education, clinical training, development of educational and curriculum standards, and innovation in naturopathy/natural medicine education. When and if political climates and law change, we will be the first to inform.
An enlightening discussion of this issue is offered by Dr. Linda Page:
"Naturopathic" Physicians- ("NMD") which is a different job title (following a medical model interpretation, a different philosophy, and different scope of practice, with a different education- (and lacking much of the important traditional naturopathic training we offer) - do as a group seek licensure around the country, as they seek to admit people to hospitals, perform surgery, and diagnose medical disease. They practice in Michigan, but DO NOT have licensure. They seek licensure to define their practice, which is different from our own, and moreover, to gain entry into the medical system with its insurance reimbursement model.
Naturopaths do not follow that model, which is an allopathic model.
There will always be a demand for well trained and skilled naturopaths, and that demand is growing more and more each day- our communities need us! Naturopaths practice in all 50 states, in Europe, and all over the world.