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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

The Nature and Benefits of Naturopathy

Melissa Josselson on the Nature and Benefits of Naturopathy. Naturopathy is a type of holistic care that looks toward the whole person rather than the symptoms to address health issues in a lasting, more sustainable way. We asked Melissa Josselson, a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), based in Haddonfield, about her journey into the field and what distinguishes it from conventional medicine.   

What inspired you to become an ND? 

As a teenager, I developed health issues and was dissatisfied with the approach and options available in conventional healthcare. The conventional approach is, one, patient has this symptom; two, take this medication for that symptom. But I always wondered why? What was the root cause? Why did I develop this condition? I didn’t tolerate medications well and I felt there had to be a better approach. When I stumbled upon naturopathy everything made sense, a light went on, the philosophy resonated with me and I sought this type of care before becoming an ND later on.  

What is an ND?  

NDs are trained as primary care physicians. Our philosophy focuses on whole-person wellness, identifying the root cause of illness, supporting the innate healing power of the body and prevention of disease. Our goal is to determine the underlying cause of a condition, exploring why a patient has “developed” a condition in the first place. We address that so long-term healing can occur. In conventional care, medication is used often to manage symptoms, and the underlying cause of a condition is not always addressed. This is one area that distinguishes our care from that of Western medicine.  

 What is the schooling for an ND?  

The letters ND are not as regulated as one may think, so it’s beneficial to inquire about an ND’s education if you are interested in pursuing care. Some NDs may have taken online courses, while others are licensed practitioners that have graduated from a four-year doctorate program. There are a handful of nationally accredited, four-year, graduate-level universities in the country. We receive similar background training as an M.D. in biomedical sciences and pharmaceutical studies and, in addition, study naturopathic modalities such as nutrition, botanical medicine and homeopathy. Upon graduation, students must pass a national licensing exam to become a licensed naturopathic doctor.    

Does an ND replace a primary doctor?  

This is dependent upon the state of care. While all NDs are training as primary care physicians, not all states regulate NDs as such. In New Jersey, we would not take or act solely as their primary care doctor. In other states, like Arizona or Washington, NDs are recognized and licensed as primary care doctors and can serve as such.   

Why do people see a naturopath?  

One of the most common reasons someone seeks care from an ND is because they have not experienced desired results or relief from conventional care. Oftentimes, for example, they have been prescribed medication after medication and have experienced side effects with no resolution of their health concern. These people desire a different approach for long-term wellness. There are also people who wish to be proactive about their health, optimize their diet, determine which supplements are ideal for their needs, and see an ND to focus on preventative care.   

What conditions do NDs address?  

NDs address numerous types of health concerns. Personally, I see women and men, and of all ages, from pediatrics to geriatrics. Some of the most common conditions I see on a regular basis include gastrointestinal disorders, hormonal imbalances, weight gain, depression, anxiety, allergies/eczema and autoimmune conditions.   

What kind of treatments are used in naturopathy?  

Clinical nutrition is one of the cornerstones of naturopathic medicine. It looks at food as medicine and may involve identifying potential nutrient deficiencies or food intolerances. Botanicals are also a modality I use commonly as herbs/plants can have powerful healing effects. Detoxification and lifestyle counseling, including stress management, are also commonly used.     

How do I know if naturopathy is right for me?  

I offer complimentary, 15-minute phone consultations for anyone that wishes to speak and determine if this type of care is best for them. Inquires can be made through the website as well.   

Dr. Melissa Josselson’s practice is located at 35 Kings Hwy. E., in Haddonfield. For more information or to schedule a complimentary 15-minute consult, call 856-472-9495 or visit




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