Naturopathic medicine is a distinct health care profession that combines the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are trained as primary care providers who diagnose, treat and manage patients with acute and chronic conditions, while addressing disease and dysfunction at the level of body, mind and spirit.
NDs concentrate on whole patient wellness through health promotion and disease prevention, while addressing the underlying cause of the patient’s condition. Naturopathic physicians care for patients of all ages and genders, and practice in settings ranging from private clinics to integrative medical centers, urgent care clinics and hospitals. NDs are clinicians, authors, scholars, researchers and entrepreneurs, and are increasingly in demand across numerous industries. They provide individualized, evidence-informed therapies that balance the least harmful and most effective approaches in order to help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health. Naturopathic doctors are experts in natural medicine, and naturopathic medical education is the most efficient and direct way to train as a primary care doctor who specializes in natural medicine.
The Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic doctors are united in the Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine.
Not only an oath, the Principles are the foundation of naturopathic medical education and naturopathic patient care. ND practice is planted firmly in the assumption that it is vital to treat the individual, to stimulate and support the body’s inherent ability to heal, to identify the root cause, address it as naturally and gently as possible, to teach patients how to create wellness, and to prevent illness whenever possible. The Therapeutic Order builds upon the Six Principles to further guide the clinical practice of naturopathic medicine, and emphasizes the determinants of health as an integral component of the care plan. NDs are afforded a broad spectrum of therapies, ranging from nutrition and lifestyle counseling to supplements, pharmaceuticals and minor surgical procedures, however the Therapeutic Order promotes selection of the least forceful intervention when safely indicated.
Core to the maturation of the profession are solid educational standards which include the AANMC Clinical Competencies of the Graduating Naturopathic Student, regional and programmatic accreditation that is recognized by the United States Department of Education and consistent regulatory requirements for licensure. The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) is the only accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education for naturopathic programs. Graduates of CNME accredited naturopathic medical institutions are eligible to sit for the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination (NPLEX), the passage of which is required for licensure.