Q: What is Naturopathic Medicine?
A: Naturopathic medicine is based on the belief that the human body has an innate healing ability. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) teach their patients to use diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and cutting edge natural therapies to enhance their bodies’ ability to ward off and combat disease. NDs view the patient as a complex, interrelated system (a whole person), not as a clogged artery or a tumor. Naturopathic physicians craft comprehensive treatment plans that blend the best of modern medical science and traditional natural medical approaches to not only treat disease, but to also restore health.
Q: What is a Naturopathic Doctor?
A: Naturopathic doctors are trained at accredited, four-year, post-graduate, residential naturopathic medical programs. The training consists of comprehensive study of the conventional medical sciences, including anatomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, immunology, clinical and physical diagnosis, laboratory diagnosis, cardiology, gastroenterology, gynecology, etc, as well as detailed study of a wide variety of natural therapies.
Naturopathic physicians combine the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science. Steeped in traditional healing methods, principles and practices, naturopathic medicine focuses on holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. By using protocols that minimize the risk of harm, naturopathic physicians help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health. It is the naturopathic physician’s role to identify and remove barriers to good health by helping to create a healing internal and external environment.
Naturopathic physicians work in private practices, hospitals, clinics and community health centers. NDs practice throughout the United States and Canada. Qualified naturopathic physicians undergo rigorous training before they become licensed healthcare practitioners. Visit our Professional Education page to learn about naturopathic education.
NDs treat all medical conditions and can provide both individual and family healthcare. Among the most common ailments they treat are allergies, chronic pain, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, obesity, respiratory conditions, heart disease, fertility problems, menopause, adrenal fatigue, cancer, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. NDs can perform minor surgeries, such as removing cysts or stitching up superficial wounds. However, they do not practice major surgery. NDs are trained to utilize prescription drugs, although the emphasis of naturopathic medicine is the use of natural healing agents. Naturopathic doctors collaborate with other health practitioners, specialists and your MD, to provide you with the most comprehensive care possible.
Q: Who regulates Naturopathic Medicine?
A: The national organization representing naturopathic doctors, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), is the driving force for the development of the profession. The AANP is instrumental in the development of the profession’s educational and practice standards, and to expanding awareness of the vital role naturopathic medicine has to play in the future of the health care system in the United States.
Q: How are Naturopaths Accredited?
A: Naturopathic medicine has an independent accrediting agency, the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME), which is the recognized authority for establishing and maintaining the educational standards for the profession. A nationally standardized licensing exam (NPLEX) has been established, which is used in nearly all of the states which currently license NDs. NDs practice as independent primary care general practitioners, with the ability to diagnose and treat medical conditions, perform physical exams, and order laboratory tests.