Interview with Peter Bongiorno, licensed naturopathic doctor (ND)
According to the National Association of Naturopathic Physicians, naturopathic doctors practice six fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine:
1. Trust in the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself.
2. Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause.
3. Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.
4. Educate patients in the steps to achieving and maintaining health.
5. View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions.
6. Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.
Peter Bongiorno is a licensed naturopathic doctor (ND) who also holds a masters in acupuncture. He and his wife, who is also an ND, have practices on Long Island, N.Y., and in New York City. New York State is not a state that officially recognizes naturopathic medicine, so patients must pay out of pocket for a visit. I caught up with Bongiorno and asked him some questions about his practice and how he decided to go into the field.
Bongiorno was pre-med in college and did graduate research in mental health at Yale and the National Institutes of Health. Bongiorno became interested in naturopathic medicine after a friend became ill with multiple sclerosis and greatly benefited from the discipline after a lack of discernable progress with fighting off the disease when only following the conventional pharmacological protocol prescribed by her neurologist.
According to Bongiorno, naturopathic medicine is a “common-sensical” approach to patient treatment. He thinks the principles enumerated above can help patients take responsibility for their own bodies and realize there are many things they can do to change the course of their health. Pointing to a 2011 study by the British Journal of Cancer showing 40% of the major cancers in women and 45% in men in Britain were seen to be attributable to lifestyle, dietary and environmental factors in their lifestyle (see link to study below), he says this is evidence of our ability to control more of our health than we often realize.