Naturopathic Doctors

"Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing process.  The practice of Naturopathic medicine includes modern and traditional, scientific, and empirical methods."

Quoted excerpt from the website of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians

Modern Naturopathic Education

Licensed naturopathic physicians attend 4 year medical schools accredited by the CNME (recognized by the US Department of Education to accredit doctoral programs in naturopathic medicine).  These programs include both academic courses as well as extensive, supervised clinical training. ND education includes the same "basic science" classes as conventional medical doctors (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, pharmacology, etc), as well as training in conventional physical exam and laboratory diagnosis, minor surgery and office procedures (injections, IV, laceration care and repair, biopsies, etc). In addition to conventional medical approaches, naturopathic training also includes extensive training in nutrition and nutrient therapies, botanical medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, as well as exposure to the foundational concepts of Chinese medicine, and Ayurvedic medicine. All of this training overlays the principles of naturopathic medicine: honor and support the body’s inherent wisdom and ability to heal; find and treat the cause; support and address the whole person; prevention is the best treatment; strive for optimal health.

Naturopathic medicine includes a wide variety of modalities including:

  • Nutrition / Diet & Lifestyle modification

  • Orthomolecular & Functional Medicine

  • Botanical Medicine

  • Homeopathy

  • Hydrotherapy & Physical Medicine, including naturopathic manipulation

  • Environmental medicine & detoxification


Many NDs have additional training in

  • Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

  • Ayurvedic Medicine

  • Massage

  • Midwifery

  • Chiropractic

  • Psychotherapy

*Click HERE for a list of accredited Naturopathic medical schools in North America

Licensing

  • Alaska

  • Arizona

  • California

  • Colorado

  • Connecticut

  • Hawaii

  • Idaho

  • Kansas

  • Maine

  • Maryland

  • Massachusetts

​​Districts and Territories

  • District of Columbia

  • Puerto Rico

  • US Virgin Islands

  • ​Pennsylvania

  • Rhode Island

  • Utah

  • Vermont

  • Washington

  • Minnesota

  • Montana

  • New Hampshire

  • New Mexico

  • North Dakota

  • Oregon

Currently 22 states, the District of Columbia, and the US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have licensing or registration laws for Naturopathic Doctors:

 

In these states, Naturopathic Doctors are required to graduate from an accredited four-year, residential Naturopathic medical school (see “education” below) and pass extensive postdoctoral board examinations (NPLEX) in order to be eligible for licensing or registration. Licensed Naturopathic Doctors must fulfill state-mandated continuing education requirements annually, and will have a specific scope of practice defined by their state’s law.

* Click HERE to see a map of regulated states and states seeking licensure*

What is super interesting on this map is the DATES... 

Naturopathic medicine has been licensed in a few states (WA, CT, HI, OR, AZ) since the early 1900's.  The takeaway from this? Naturopathic medicine is not new.  

Scope of Practice

Naturopathy in Texas

Naturopathic doctors are not medical doctors (MDs) or osteopathic doctors (DOs). The state of Texas does not currently license naturopathic doctors.  In Texas naturopathic doctors cannot practice medicine, diagnose or treat disease, prescribe medications or order laboratory tests or imaging.


Because there is much misinformation regarding naturopathic medicine and the training of practitioners of natural medicine, please allow the following clarification:

There are several correspondence courses in existence offering a “Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine” degree, as well as several more traditional looking programs. These programs are not accredited by CNME (recognized by the US Board of Education). Please note that while graduates of these courses do have valuable insight to offer consumers regarding natural health, the programs do not qualify graduates to take NABNE board exams, or apply to become licensed physicians.

 

Currently there are only 8 schools in North America that are accredited Naturopathic medical colleges, who's graduates are qualified to take the NABNE board exams and apply to become licensed physicians in states that offer licensure. 

In states where Naturopathy is not licensed (like Texas), graduates of correspondence programs may also use the title "ND", "Naturopathic Doctor" or "Naturopathic Physician" due to this lack of regulation. This is the basis of much of the confusion and the claims that Naturopathic doctors do not have medical training (some folks in Texas using that title don't have medical training).

History of Naturopathic Medicine


As a distinct health care profession, Naturopathic medicine is almost 100 years old. Its philosophy and therapies have their origins in the philosophy of Hippocrates and the healing wisdom of many cultures. At the turn of the century, practitioners of a variety of medical disciplines combined natural therapeutics in a unique way. These practitioners joined together to form the first Naturopathic medical societies. Naturopathic medical conventions in the 1920’s attracted more than 10,000 practitioners. Early in the 20th century there were more than 20 Naturopathic colleges and Naturopathic physicians were licensed in a majority of the states.

Naturopathic medicine experienced a decline in the 1940’s and 1950’s with the rise and popularity of pharmaceutical drugs, technological medicine, and the widespread belief that these therapies could eliminate all disease. It has experienced a resurgence in the last three decades, as a health conscious public seeks out alternatives to conventional medicine. As a body of knowledge, Naturopathy continues to grow and evolve. As an organized profession, Naturopathic medicine is committed to ongoing research and development of its science and incorporates elements of conventional medicine.

 


For More information:

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