What is a Naturopathic Doctor?
Naturopathic physicians (NDs or naturopaths) are general practitioners trained as specialists in natural medicine. Naturopathic medicine (naturopathy) is effective in treating most health problems, whether acute or chronic. Naturopathic physicians treat disease and restore health using therapies from the sciences of clinical nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, exercise therapy, counseling, Bach flower remedies, laboratory testing, nutritional and dietary assessments, metabolic analysis, allergy testing, and other diagnostic tests. They cooperate with all other branches of medical science, referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate. Naturopathic physicians work with each person as an individual and design a treatment program to address their specific needs, acknowledging the importance of the patient as a participant in his or her own health.
As a distinct American healthcare profession, natural medicine is almost 100 years old. Its roots go back through medical history to the healing wisdom of many cultures and times. The first naturopathic medical societies were formed at the turn of the century, with more than 10,000 practitioners attending naturopathic conventions in the 1920′s. Naturopathy has experienced a resurgence in the last two decades as a health-conscious public seeks to be educated and in control of their own health and well-being.
A naturopath has a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree from a four-year, graduate-level, naturopathic medical college. In states where they are regulated, natural physicians must pass a state-level board examination, and their actions are subject to review by a State Board of examiners.