Dr. Bonnie Cronin

Naturopathic Medicine

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

The naturopathic approach and philosophy of medicine is holistic and seeks to understand all the factors that may be affecting a person’s health.  Naturopathic doctors strive to find the underlying cause of illness rather than simply eliminating or suppressing symptoms.   By listening carefully we can understand all the factors contributing to your health problems and uncover the underlying causes.  Naturopathic medicine is appropriate for the management of a broad range of health conditions affecting people of all ages.

The emphasis of naturopathic medicine is on prevention and restoration of balance in the body, mind and spirit.  We recommend natural, non-invasive therapies aimed to support and encourage the body’s innate healing processes.  One of our main goals is to educate you on what you can do to promote health in your own life. 

Naturopathic therapies include: 

  • Clinical nutrition
  • Diet and lifestyle education
  • Botanical medicine
  • Vitamin, mineral and enzyme therapy
  • Homeopathy
  • Physical medicine

*For more information on the naturopathic therapies please see Services Offered.



Naturopathic Principles

Naturopathic medicine is defined by it principles. Methods and modalities are selected and applied based on these principles in relationship to the individual needs of the each person.

The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)
Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process. Naturopathic doctors act to identify and remove obstacles to recovery and promote this self-healing process.

Identify and Treat the Cause (Tolle Causam)
Naturopathic doctors seek to identify and remove the underlying cause to illness, rather than just eliminating or suppressing symptoms.

First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)
Naturopathic doctors utilize modalities which minimize the risk of harmful side effects and use the least force interventions.

Doctor as Teacher (Docere)
Naturopathic doctors educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health.

Treat the Whole Person
Naturopathic doctors treat each patient individually, taking into account an individual’s physical, mental, emotional state as well as genetic, environmental and social factors.

Naturopathic doctors emphasize the prevention of disease, assess risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease and make interventions to prevent illness.

Wellness follows the establishment and maintenance of optimum health and balance. It is a state of being healthy and is characterized by positive emotion, thought and action.



Naturopathic Education

A naturopathic doctor (ND) attends an accredited, four-year, graduate-level naturopathic medical institution after obtaining a basic pre-med undergraduate education. There are over 1500 hours of clinical training at a teaching naturopathic medical clinic. In addition to the basic medical sciences and conventional diagnostics, the naturopathic doctor is required to complete additional training in therapeutic nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, physical medicine and counseling.

A naturopathic doctor takes rigorous professional basic science and clinical board examinations so that he or she may be licensed by a state or jurisdiction. Passing the naturopathic physicians licensing examinations (NPLEX) is required before a Doctor of Naturopathic medicine can be licensed as a naturopathic physician. Dr. Cronin is a licensed Naturopathic Physician in Washington State.

Dr. Cronin received her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University, one of the few accredited schools of naturopathic medicine. Bastyr University’s primary accreditation is granted by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (www.nwccu.org), one of six institutional bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The naturopathic medicine program at Bastyr University is accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (www.cnme.org). For more information you can go to www.bastyr.edu.



State Licensure for Naturopathic Doctors

States licensed for naturopathic doctors currently include Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington. Licensing efforts are taking place in numerous other states. For more information on Naturopathic Medicine or to find an ND in another state you can contact the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at www.naturopathic.org.

Because Naturopathic Medicine is not yet licensed or regulated in the State of New York, it is important to distinguish those naturopathic doctors who have completed an intensive four-year program at an accredited school from those who have completed a short-term course in naturopathy, most often by correspondence. To support the licensing efforts in New York State, please go to www.nyanp.org and follow the prompts to support legislation. Thank you.



Is Naturopathic Medicine research-based?

Naturopathic diagnostic and therapies are supported by scientific research drawn from peer-reviewed journals from many disciplines, including naturopathic medicine, conventional medicine, complementary medicine, clinical nutrition, etc.



Examples of the Naturopathic Approach to Specific Health Conditions

Here are some examples of how naturopathic medicine may help a specific condition.

Often pain is present because there is inflammation in the body. Certain dietary and lifestyles can contribute to the development of inflammation. The naturopathic approach would be to determine the causative factors that may be creating the problems. Perhaps there is a dietary component as certain foods can promote inflammation or there is a lack of nutrients that can decrease inflammation such as omega-3 essential fatty acids. Part of what we do as naturopaths is educate you on what to do to take power over your situation.

There are both physiological and psychological factors to the development of depression. It may be a result of nutrient deficiencies such as low vitamin B6 or magnesium which is needed for the production of serotonin. In addition, a food allergy or sensitivity could be an underlying cause or perhaps low thyroid function. The basis of naturopathic medicine is to find out which may be a contributing factor and implement changes in diet, lifestyle and supplements to bring about change.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
PMS has many contributing factors such as high dietary intake of dairy and simple carbohydrates, ineffective elimination of hormones by the liver or gastrointestinal tract or elevated estrogen to progesterone ratios. Depending on the underlying cause specific recommendations are made to promote effective elimination patterns of the gastrointestinal tract and/or support liver function so that it may properly metabolize hormones and/or specific dietary recommendations depending on the needs of the individual.

Type II Diabetes (Non-Insulin Dependent)
Type II diabetes is becoming increasingly prevalent in North America. There is much that can be done from a naturopathic perspective. For example, stabilizing blood sugar levels can be helped by incorporating small amount of protein at each meal and botanicals such as gymnema sylvestre have been shown to increase the cells uptake of glucose. A complete naturopathic protocol can help prevent cardiovascular and nervous system damage due to elevated blood sugar levels.

Menopausal symptoms
During the perimenopausal years some women tend to be more affected by the hormonal shifts than others. With the recent scare of hormone replacement therapy many woman are looking for a natural approach. There are many factors that contribute to the development of symptoms, for example, certain foods can trigger or increase hot flashes such as spicy foods and alcohol. Naturopathic medicine can approach the hormonal shifts naturally by making sure the individual has the proper nutrients to produce the hormones and through the use of specific botanicals to help regulate the hormonal system. Black cohosh (Cimicifuga Racemosa) is an example of one of the herbs commonly used to help symptoms by regulating hormonal levels.

High cholesterol
There are multiple factors that may contribute to elevated cholesterol levels. Many times there are dietary and exercise components that need to be addressed. In addition, there may be ineffective elimination of cholesterol through the gastrointestinal tract or ineffective metabolism of cholesterol by the liver. A naturopathic approach would be multi-faceted focusing on diet, lifestyle and specific vitamins, minerals, or botanicals to help the digestive tract and liver function optimally.

This condition is becoming increasingly common among men and women. A combination of factors contribute to its development such as food allergy/sensitivities, nutrient deficiencies, stress and hormonal imbalances. Through dietary and lifestyle modification, nutrient supplementation and stress management, balance can be restored.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia
Both of these conditions are on the rise. They are diagnoses of exclusion meaning other conditions need to be ruled out before these conditions can be diagnosed. These conditions are usually a result of multiple system problems. Many times there is underlying sleep deprivation history that needs to be addressed. In addition to nutrient depletions and dietary factors which may contribute to the problems, a naturopathic approach would focus on diet, lifestyle and try to determine which systems need to be brought back into balance. For example, often the digestive system has some problems such as digestive enzyme deficiencies or the absorption of nutrients is impaired. Focusing on the underlying causative factors needs to be addressed for people to have energy and decreased pain.