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What is Naturopathic Medicine ?

Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct 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. The following principles are the foundation of Naturopathic Medical practice:

  • First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere): Naturopathic Doctors follow three guidelines to avoid harming the patient:
    • Utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat
    • Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms
    • Acknowledge, respect, and work with individuals’ self-healing process
  • Identify and Treat the Causes (ToIle Causam): The Naturopathic Doctor seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
  • Doctor as Teacher (Docere): Naturopathic Doctors educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
  • Treat the Whole Person (Tolle Totum): Naturopathic Doctors treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors.
  • The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae): Naturopathic Medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in people that is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic doctors act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this inherent self-healing process.
  • Prevention: Naturopathic Doctors emphasize the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and by making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness.

Naturopathic Medicine includes the following modalities:

  • clinical and laboratory testing
  • nutritional therapies
  • botanical therapies
  • naturopathic physical medicine
  • public health measures
  • diet and lifestyle modification
  • counseling
  • minor surgery
  • homeopathy
  • prescription medication
  • intravenous and injection therapy
  • naturopathic obstetrics (natural childbirth)

The inclusion of these modalities in an individual Naturopathic practice depends upon individual state licensure and/or registration laws and allowed scope of practice.

What is a Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic Doctors combine the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science. Naturopathic Doctors focus on holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive evaluations and recommendations. 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 internal and external environment.

Naturopathic Doctors undergo rigorous training and board examination before they are able to become licensed and/or registered healthcare providers. To obtain a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine, students must have three years of undergraduate pre-medical sciences followed by successful completion of a 4-year full-time in-residence medical program at an accredited Naturopathic medical school. This includes more than 4,500 hours of classroom training and 1,500 hours of supervised clinical experience. For more information on Naturopathic medical training, please visit The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education at

There are seven accredited Naturopathic medical schools in North America. To learn more about these schools, please visit the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges at

To be licensed and/or registered in one of the 23 U.S. states or jurisdictions that allow licensure or registration as general practice healthcare providers, Naturopathic Doctors must pass NPLEX board examinations that are written after the 2nd and 4th year of study. For more information, please visit the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners at

Naturopathic Doctors work worldwide in private practices, hospitals, clinics and community health centers. Naturopathic Doctors address all medical conditions and can provide both individual and family healthcare. Among the most common ailments they address are allergies, chronic pain, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, obesity, respiratory conditions, heart disease, fertility problems, menopause, fatigue, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Naturopathic doctors are trained to utilize prescription drugs when needed and recognize interactions with alternative therapies. In some states, Naturopathic doctors can perform minor surgeries, such as removing cysts or stitching up superficial wounds. However, they do not practice major surgery.