What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct profession of primary health care. It is both a science and a philosophy of medicine based on the understanding that the body has the natural ability to heal itself if provided the opportunity. It honors patients as unique individuals and empowers them to take responsibility for improving their own health. Naturopathic Medicine focuses on the prevention of illness and on the identification and treatment of the underlying causes of disease. Naturopathic Medicine is appropriate and effective for the management of a broad range of health conditions affecting all ages. Treatment is individualized and is focused on meeting patients wherever they are on their journey to better health.
How are Naturopathic Doctors Trained?
Naturopathic Doctors (ND’s) are the nation’s leading experts in natural health care. A four-year undergraduate degree is required, as is the standard pre-med curriculum. Students of Naturopathic Medicine must then attend a four-to-five year graduate level naturopathic medical school. They are educated in the same medical sciences as traditional medical doctors including anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, immunology, microbiology, genetics, diagnostic imaging, clinical physical diagnosis, lab diagnosis, pharmacology, minor surgery, dermatology, HEENT, cardiology, gastroenterology, urology, gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics, endocrinology, geriatrics, proctology, men’s health, neurology, oncology, first aid and emergency medicine, and more. In addition to the standard rigorous medical curriculum, the naturopathic medical student is required to complete training in stress management and lifestyle counseling, clinical medical nutrition, botanical medicine, food supplementation therapy, hydrotherapy, naturopathic spinal manipulation therapy and physical medicine, physiotherapy, exercise therapeutics, homeopathic medicine, natural childbirth, intravenous (IV) therapy, and so much more. Like MD’s, ND’s spend their last two years of medical school in various clinical settings as medical interns working with patients under the supervision of doctors. Like MD’s, once completing school, in order to become licensed nationally, ND’s are then required to take several consecutive full days of rigorous professional board exams. Once they pass this exam, ND’s are licensed as primary care physicians of general family practice. ND’s are required to attend continuing education classes on a yearly basis to remain current on medical advances and to maintain their license.
For a listing of the accredited Naturopathic medical schools in the United States and Canada, please visit the “Additional Resources” page. Knowing that your natural health care provider attended a nationally accredited school is important to ensure your safety and the quality of the medical care you will receive.