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What is Naturopathic Medicine ?

Naturopathic medicine blends centuries-old natural, non-toxic therapies with current advances in the study of health and human systems, covering all aspects of family health from prenatal to geriatric care.

Naturopathic medicine concentrates on whole-patient wellness; the medicine is tailored to the patient and emphasizes prevention and self-care. Naturopathic medicine attempts to find the underlying cause of the patient’s condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment.

Naturopathic physicians cooperate with all other branches of medical science referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.

It utilizes the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies to treat illness and to promote wellness by viewing the body as an integrated whole.

Naturopathic medicine is defined by principles rather than by methods or modalities. Above all, it honors the body’s innate wisdom to heal.

The six fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine:

1. The Healing Power of Nature

Trust in the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself.

2. Identify and Treat the Causes

Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause.

3. First Do No Harm

Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.

4. Doctor as Teacher

Educate patients in the steps to achieving and maintaining health.

5. Treat the Whole Person

View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions.

6. Prevention

Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.

Naturopathic physicians are primary care providers and specialists:

Doctors of naturopathic medicine (NDs) are trained as primary care providers and, as such, their scope of practice may include:

  • Nutrition
  • Botanical medicine
  • Physical medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Physical and clinical diagnosis
  • Laboratory diagnosis and diagnostic imaging
  • Emergency medicine
  • Psychology
  • Pharmacology
  • Minor surgery

Naturopathic physicians learn to treat all aspects of family health and wellness, from pediatrics to geriatrics. They tailor their therapies to meet the individual needs of each patient, factoring in physical, social, emotional and spiritual aspects before prescribing a course of treatment.

Because they view natural remedies as complementary as well as primary, naturopathic physicians cooperate with other medical professionals, referring patients to allopathic medical doctors, surgeons and other specialists whenever appropriate.

Naturopathic physicians are rigorously trained:

Licensed naturopathic physicians have attended four-year professional-level programs at accredited institutions, where they have been educated in the same basic sciences as allopathic physicians. Some member schools in the AANMC actually require more hours of basic and clinical science than many top allopathic medical schools.

During their first two years of study, the curriculum focuses on basic and clinical sciences, covering:

  • Biochemistry
  • Human Physiology
  • Histology
  • Anatomy
  • Macro- and Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Human Pathology
  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology

For at least the final two years of their medical program,students intern in clinical settings under the close supervision of licensed professionals.

Students of naturopathic medicine use the Western medical sciences as a foundation on which to build a thorough knowledge of holistic, non-toxic therapies and develop skills in diagnosis, disease prevention and wellness optimization.

While earning their degree, doctors of naturopathic medicine learn virtually all the modalities of proven natural therapies:

  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Botanical Medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • Lifestyle Counseling
  • Massage
  • Physical Medicine
  • Hydrotherapy

Graduates from naturopathic medical schools must pass the comprehensive naturopathic physicians licensing examinations (NPLEX) to be licensed as primary care physicians. Candidates for full licensure must also satisfy all licensing requirements for the individual state or province in which they plan to practice.

Today’s naturopathic physicians artfully blend modern, cutting-edge diagnostic and therapeutic procedures with ancient and traditional methods. They offer the world a healing paradigm founded on a rational balance of tradition, science and respect for nature.

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