Blending modern science with ancient medicine, naturopathic medicine brings together the best of both worlds. This art and science of medicine treats people as unique individuals, who need to be cared for at the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels.
Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic physicians practice the six fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine:
The Healing Power of Nature
Trust in the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself
Identify and Treat the Causes
Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause
First Do No Harm
Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies
Doctor as Teacher
Educate patients in the steps to achieving and maintaining health
Treat the Whole Person
View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions
Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention
- Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges
Naturopathic medical education
There are currently only 7 CNME accredited naturopathic medical schools. A naturopathic medical education from one of these schools provides training in naturopathic primary care. This includes diagnostic training in physical, clinical, lab and imaging diagnosis, as well as training in a multitude of treatment modalities including pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, minor surgery, botanical medicine, naturopathic manipulations, homeopathy, nutrition, counseling and mind-body medicine. It is important that you ask about the education of any naturopathic physician that you are considering working with. In addition, you should make sure that they passed the NPLEX, the standardized national board exam.
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians describes accredited naturopathic medical education as follows: "A licensed naturopathic physician (ND) attends a four-year, graduate-level naturopathic medical school and is educated in all of the same basic sciences as an MD, but also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician also studies clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and counseling. A naturopathic physician takes rigorous professional board exams so that he or she may be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care general practice physician."
Want to know more? Check out the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians' answers to FAQs on naturopathic medicine here.
Licensure for NDs currently varies state by state
In unlicensed states, such as Ohio, it is important to inquire about an ND's education, as anyone with any level of education can claim the title of ND. As such, there is a wide range of training and education that could be represented by the title of ND in an unlicensed state. In order to make sure that you are seeing a qualified naturopathic physician, always ask these 3 questions.
A list of states that currently have licensing laws for NDs can be found here.
Naturopathic Medicine: 100 Frequently Asked Questions. A NEW series covering everything you want and need to know about naturopathic doctors and naturopathic medicine.