About Naturopathic Doctors

What are Naturopathic Doctors and how are they trained?

Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are licensed physicians, who have attended 4-year accredited naturopathic medical schools. The first two years of medical school parallel those to conventional medical schools (MDs and DOs) with a strong foundation in the basic medical sciences. The last 2 years of medical school consist of intensive clinical training in various settings (doctor's offices, hospitals, clinics, and more), focusing on complementary and alternative medicine as well as individualized treatment. NDs are required to complete the Basic Science Boards after their second year of training (NPLEX1) as well as Clinical Science Boards (NPLEX2) in order to become a licensed naturopathic physician.

The strong foundation in medical science that NDs receive in training allows them to practice responsibly as primary care physicians. Similarly, the strong foundation in natural medicine allows a variety of modalities for patients in a case by case basis.

What truly sets NDs apart is the appreciation and practice of the Art and Science of medicine. No two people are the same nor do their bodies display the same symptoms. Therefore, no two people will have the same treatment plan--every person and treatment is unique in itself. Honoring this concept as well as considering nature's ability to heal the body helps to display the beauty of naturopathy! Our bodies (and Mother Nature) are inherently smart; it's time we start listening!

Naturopathic Principles

First, do no harm.

Utilize safe and effective methods of treatment.  Find the least invasive treatment that provides the most benefit.

The healing power of nature.

Respect the body's innate ability to heal itself.  

Identify and treat the cause.

Symptoms are representations of what the body is experiencing. Find the underlying cause for effective treatment.

Treat the whole person.

Realize that the body, mind, and spirit all play an instrumental role in the healing process.

Prevention is key.

Empower patients to take control of their health and therefore prevent disease.

Doctor as teacher.

Educate and empower patients to become passionate about their journey towards optimal health.

Licensure

Are Naturopathic Doctors licensed?

There are currently 20 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States Territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, and the United State territories of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands that have licensing that recognizes naturopathic physicians. In these states naturopathic physicians must have graduated from a nationally accredited four year naturopathic medical school as well as pass the basic science (NPLEX1) and clinical science (NPLEX2) board examinations. There are 7 accredited naturopathic programs across North America including Bastyr University (Seattle, San Diego), National University of Natural Medicine, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences, National University of Health Sciences, University of Bridgeport of Naturopathic Medicine, Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, and Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.naturopathic medical schools in the United States. They are: Bastyr University, National College of Natural Medicine, National University of Health Sciences, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, and the University of Bridgeport. These intensive programs include skills in basic science, laboratory diagnosis, physical diagnosis, differential diagnosis, pharmacology, conventional treatment as well as naturopathic treatment. Training includes a wide scope of naturopathic modalities ranging from nutrition and homeopathy to physical manipulation and minor surgery.

The 20 states that recognize licensed naturopathic physicians include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, D.C., Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Washington. Notice, that Ohio is not one of those states.

How does this impact Ohio, then?

Not having licensure in Ohio does not mean that naturopathic medicine is not available to its residents. What it does mean is that lack of licensure does not set a high standard of education requirements for individuals that call themselves a 'naturopathic physician'. If you are considering seeing a naturopathic physician please don't be hesitant to ask about their education.

Not having licensure also does not allow naturopathic physicians to practice medicine in the full scope in which they were trained.

To learn about licensure in Ohio visit: http://ohnda.org

To learn about licensure throughout the United States visit: http://www.naturopathic.org