What is a Naturopathic Doctor?

A Naturopathic Doctor (ND) is a healthcare practitioner whose diverse healing modalities include conventional, traditional, complementary and alternative medicine methods.  NDs are not limited by the politics that confine the practice scopes and are able to provide patients the best care each system has to offer.  Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct system of primary healthcare -an art, science, philosophy and practice of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illness. The principles of Naturopathic Medicine are based upon objective observation of the nature of health and disease. The methods utilized by ND’s are consistent with these principles, and are chosen based upon extensive medical training and experience to address each individual’s unique needs.

What Kind of Education is Required to Become an ND?

Naturopathic medical colleges* are four-year postgraduate schools with admission requirements comparable to those of conventional medical schools. The degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine requires four years of graduate level study in the medical sciences. The doctoral degree programs offered at the five naturopathic medical schools in North America require extensive hands-on clinical experience along with a standard medical school curriculum and extensive coursework in natural therapies.

What is the Scope of Practice of NDs?

Naturopathic Doctors are trained at the physician level -i.e. they are trained to do everything a general family practice MD does- but rarely find the need to resort to drugs and surgery to treat common conditions. NDs are clinically trained in a wide variety of natural medicine therapies. Some of the therapies available to the naturopathic patient include the following:

  • Naturopathic Medicine
  • Oriental Medicine
  • Classical Homeopathy
  • Environmental Medicine
  • Acupuncture
  • Physical Medicine
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Detox & Cleansing Treatments

“The naturopathic doctor treats the whole person -mind, body & spirit- for optimum health.”

How are NDs Licensed?

A licensed naturopathic physician (ND) attends a four-year, graduate level medical school and is educated in all the same modern medical sciences as an MD. The ND also studies holistic and non-toxic approaches to healing with a strong emphasis on optimizing health and disease prevention. A naturopathic physician takes vigorous national and state professional board examinations and participates in yearly continuing education programs so that he or she may be licensed as a primary care doctor.

* The five accredited, 4-year naturopathic medical schools in North America are: National College of Naturopathic Medicine (Portland, OR), Bastyr University (Seattle, WA), Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (Tempe, AZ), University of Bridgeport (Bridgeport, CT), and Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (Toronto, Canada).

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