Naturopathic physicians (N.D.'s) are general practitioners trained
as specialists in natural medicine. They are educated in the conventional
medical sciences, but they are not orthodox medical doctors (M.D.'s).
Naturopathic physicians treat disease and restore health using therapies
from the sciences of clinical nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy,
physical medicine, exercise therapy, counseling, acupuncture, natural
childbirth and hydrotherapy. They tailor these approaches to the needs
of an individual patient. Naturopathic medicine is effective in treating
most health problems, whether acute or chronic. Naturopathic physicians
cooperate with all other branches of medical science, referring patients
to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.
In practice, naturopathic physicians perform physical examinations,
laboratory testing, gynecological exams, nutritional and dietary assessments,
metabolic analysis, allergy testing, X-ray examinations, and other
diagnostic tests. They are the only primary care physicians clinically
trained in the use of a wide variety of natural therapeutics. They
combine and tailor these treatments to the needs of the individual
based on a cogent philosophy that acknowledges the patient as a participant.
The naturopathic physician has a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D.)
degree from a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical college.
In states where they are regulated, naturopathic physicians must pass
either a national or a state level board examination, and their actions
are subject to review by a State Board of Examiners.
of Naturopathic Medicine
The principles of naturopathic medicine unite
the profession. The following principles are the foundation that naturopathic
medical practice is built upon.
1.The Healing Power of Nature. Vis Medicatrix Naturae
Nature acts powerfully through healing mechanisms in the body and
mind to maintain and restore health. Naturopathic physicians work
to restore and support these inherent healing systems when they have
broken down, by using methods, medicines and techniques that are in
harmony with natural processes.
2. First Do No Harm. Primum non nocere
Naturopathic physicians prefer non-invasive treatments which minimize
the risks of harmful side-effects. They are trained to know which
patients they can treat safely, and which ones they need to refer
to other health care practitioners.
3. Find the Cause. Tolle Causam
Every illness has an underlying cause, often in aspects of the lifestyle,
diet or habits of the individual. A Naturopathic Physician is trained
to find and remove the underlying cause of a disease.
4. Treat the Whole Person.
Health or disease come from a complex interaction of physical, emotional,
dietary, genetic, environmental, lifestyle, and other factors. Naturopathic
physicians treat the whole person, taking these factors into account.
5. Preventive Medicine. The naturopathic approach to health care
can prevent minor illnesses from developing into more serious or chronic
degenerative diseases. Patients are taught the principles with which
to live a healthy life; by following these principles they can prevent
As a distinct American health care profession naturopathic medicine
is almost 100 years old. Its roots go back through medical history
to the healing wisdom of many cultures and times. At the turn of the
century, practitioners of a variety of medical disciplines combined
natural therapeutics in a way they hadn't been combined before, and
joined together to form the first naturopathic professional medical
societies. Naturopathic medical conventions in the 1920's attracted
more than 10,000 practitioners. Earlier in the century there were
more than 20 naturopathic medical colleges, and naturopathic physicians
were licensed in a majority of the states.
Naturopathic Medicine experienced a decline in the 1940's and 5O's
with the rise and popularity of pharmaceutical drugs, technological
medicine, and the idea that drugs could eliminate all disease. It
has experienced a resurgence in the last two decades, as a health
conscious public began to seek out alternatives to conventional medicine.
As a body of knowledge, naturopathic medicine continues to grow and
evolve. It incorporates those elements of scientific modern medicine
that forward the knowledge of the mechanisms of natural healing and
therapeutics, especially in the fields of diagnosis, immunology, clinical
nutrition, botanical medicine and other clinical sciences. As an organized
profession, naturopathic medicine is committed to on-going research
and development of its science.
Naturopathic Medical Education
Naturopathic medical colleges are four-year
postgraduate schools with admissions 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 including: anatomy - cardiology - physiology - neurology
- biochemistry - radiology - pathology - minor surgery microbiology
- obstetrics - immunology - gynecology pharmacology - pediatrics -
dermatology - lab diagnosis - clinical and physical diagnosis - and
other clinical sciences.
Throughout the four years, there is training in naturopathic therapeutics,
including therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, natural
childbirth, acupuncture, hydrotherapy naturopathic manipulative therapy,
and other therapies. Because the course work in natural therapeutics
is added to a standard medical curriculum, naturopathic doctors receive
significantly more hours of classroom education than the graduates
of many leading medical schools, including Yale, Stanford, Johns Hopkins
and Mayo medical schools. There are presently two accredited colleges
of Naturopathic Medicine in the United States.
14500 Juanita Dr. NE Kenmore, WA
(425) 823-6222 Fax
11231 S.E. Market Street
Portland, OR 97216
The accrediting agency for naturopathic medical
programs is the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME).
It is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and students
at accredited and candidate status naturopathic medical schools
are qualified to participate in federal student loan programs.
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine Health Sciences
2140 E. Broadway Rd.
Tempe, AZ 85282
Southwest College has achieved Candidate for Accreditation status.
This step does not assure eventual accreditation by the CNME.
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) is the
unifying professional association for naturopathic medicine. Its governing
body includes delegates from state level Naturopathic Associations.
The goals of the AANP are to promote the public health, to maintain
high standards of education and medical practice, and to encourage
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians supports legislation
to license and regulate naturopathic physicians in all states, in
order to distinguish properly trained physicians from lesser trained
individuals who may present a danger to public health.
The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education is the national accrediting
body for naturopathic medical colleges.
National board examinations are administered by the Naturopathic Physicians
Medical specialty societies within the profession are:
1. Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians (HANP)
2. American College of Naturopathic Obstetricians (ACNO)
3. Naturopathic Physicians Acupuncture Association (NPAA)
American Assoc. of Naturopathic Physicians
8201 Greensboro Dr, Suite 300, McLean, VA 22102,
of Naturopathic Physicians
4224 University Way, Suite J Seattle, Washington 98105-5833
Phone (206) 547-2130
Fax (206) 547-2549
1 (800) 438-2882(WA Only)
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Naturopathic physicians are the only primary care physicians clinically
trained in a wide variety of medical systems.
Some of the natural therapies practiced
by naturopathic physicians are:
Nutrition and the therapeutic use of foods have always been a cornerstone
of naturopathic medicine. A growing body of scientific knowledge in
this area is reflected in numerous professional journals of nutrition
and dietary sciences, validating the naturopathic approach to diet
and nutrition. Many medical conditions can be treated as effectively
with foods and nutritional supplements as they can by any other means,
but with fewer complications and side effects. Naturopathic physicians
receive more than 140 classroom hours in clinical nutrition; most
medical doctors receive fewer than 20 hours.
This powerful system of medicine is more than 200 years old, and is
widely accepted in other countries (The Royal Family of England uses
a homeopathic physician.). Homeopathic medicines act to strengthen
the body's innate immune response; they seldom have side effects.
Some conditions that conventional medicine has no effective treatment
for respond well to homeopathy.
Many plant substances are powerful medicines, with advantages over
conventional drugs. They are effective and safe when used properly,
in the right dose and in the proper combinations with other herbs
or treatments. A resurgence of scientific research in Europe and Asia
is demonstrating that some plant substances are superior to synthetic
drugs in clinical situations. Naturopathic doctors are trained in
both the art and the science of botanical medicine.
In the last 100 years, various methods of applying treatments through
the manipulation of the muscles, bones and spine have been developed
in the U.S. Naturopathic Medicine has its own techniques, collectively
known as naturopathic manipulative therapy. Physical medicine also
includes but is not limited to physiotherapy using heat and cold,
gentle electrical pulses, ultrasound, diathermy and hydrotherapy and
and Stress Management.
Mental attitudes and emotional states can be important elements in
healing and disease. Naturopathic physicians are trained in various
psychological techniques, including counseling, nutritional balancing,
stress management, hypnotherapy, biofeedback and other methods.