A Unique Sytem of Healthcare
Emphasizes the use of prevention and natural therapeutics. The doctors who practice naturopathic medicine, called naturopathic doctors (NDs), are trained to serve as primary care general practitioners who are experts in the prevention, diagnosis, management, and treatment of both acute and chronic health conditions.
Trained at accredited, 4-yr, post-graduate residential medical programs
Comprehensive study of the conventional medical sciences, including anatomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, immunology, clinical and physical diagnosis, laboratory diagnosis, cardiology, gastroenterology, gynecology, etc, as well as detailed study of a wide variety of natural therapies.
First, Do No Harm; The Healing Power of Nature; Find the Cause; Treat the Whole Person; Preventive Medicine; and, 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 and forms the foundation of this distinct health care practice.
Treat a Wide Variety of Conditions
Naturopathic doctors are also able to function within an integrated framework, and naturopathic therapies can be used to complement treatments used by conventionally trained medical doctors. The result is a patient-centered approach that strives to provide the most appropriate treatment for an individual's needs.
In the United States, the naturopathic medical profession's infrastructure includes accredited educational institutions, professional licensing, national standards of practice, peer review, and a commitment to state-of-the-art scientific research.
Presently, there are three accredited four-year naturopathic medical programs in the United States, and two programs in Canada which are candidates for accreditation. Naturopathic medicine has an independent accrediting agency, the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME), which is the recognized authority for establishing and maintaining the educational standards for profession. A nationally standardized licensing exam (NPLEX) has been established, which is used in nearly all of the states which currently license NDs. Currently, fourteen states license NDs (as does Puerto Rico and four Canadian provinces). In these states, NDs practice as independent primary care general practitioners, with the ability to diagnose and treat medical conditions, perform physical exams, and order laboratory testing. In these states, many health care consumers specifically choose NDs as their primary care providers.