A naturopathic doctor (ND) combines the wisdom of nature with the knowledge of modern science. Steeped in traditional healing methods, principles and practices, naturopathic medicine focuses on holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. By using protocols that minimize the risk of harm, naturopathic doctors help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health. It is the naturopathic doctor’s role to identify and remove barriers to good health by helping to create a healing environment, internally and externally.
Naturopathic doctors work in private practices, hospitals, clinics, and community health centers. These doctors practice throughout the United States and Canada. Qualified naturopathic doctors undergo rigorous training before becoming licensed health-care practitioners.
Naturopathic Doctor Education
A licensed naturopathic doctor attends a four-year, graduate-level naturopathic medical school, and is educated in all of the same basic sciences as an MD. They also study 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 doctor also studies clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and counseling. They take the same professional board exams as a normal MD so they may be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care general practice physician.
Naturopathic doctors are guided by six principles:
Do no harm
The healing power of nature
Find the cause
Treat the whole person
Doctor as teacher
This set of principles, emphasized throughout a naturopathic doctor’s training, outlines the philosophy guiding the naturopathic approach to health and healing. These principles also form the foundation of this distinct health care practice. Naturopathic doctors treat all medical conditions and can provide health care to both individuals and families. The most common ailments they treat are allergies, chronic pain, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, obesity, respiratory conditions, heart disease, fertility problems, menopause, adrenal fatigue, cancer, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Naturopathic doctors use a variety of natural and non-invasive therapies, including clinical nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, physical medicine, and counseling. Many naturopathic doctors have additional training and certification in acupuncture and natural child birth. NDs can also perform minor surgeries, such as removing cysts or stitching up superficial wounds. NDs are trained to utilize prescription drugs, although the emphasis of naturopathic medicine is the use of natural healing agents.