What is Naturopathic Medicine?
• Naturopathic medicine is a distinct health care profession, emphasizing
prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic
methods that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing process.
• Naturopathic medicine is not simply the diagnosis and treatment of disease
with natural agents. It is a practice based upon the restoration of health.
• The practice of naturopathic medicine includes modern and traditional,
scientific, and empirical methods.
• Although health is the natural state of the being, it is influenced by the
interactions of the person with the existing environment, both internal
Principles of Naturopathic Medicine.
The Healing Power of Nature
Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in people that is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this inherent self-healing process.
Identify and Treat the Cause
The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
First Do No Harm
Naturopathic physicians follow three primary guidelines to avoid harming the patient:
• Utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful
side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat;
• Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms; and
• Acknowledge, respect, and work with individuals’ self-healing process
Doctor As Teacher
Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
Treat the Whole Person
Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.
Naturopathic physicians emphasize the prevention of disease and promotion of wellness by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, health habits, and diet and by making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness.
How are Naturopathic Doctors trained?
• A licensed naturopathic physician
(ND) attends a four-year, graduate
level on-site naturopathic medical
• A licensed ND is educated in all of
the same basic sciences as an MD,
including anatomy, physiology,
pathophysiology, physical, clinical,
and laboratory diagnosis.
• Naturopathic students also study
holistic and natural approaches as
well as therapies with a strong
emphasis on disease prevention
and optimizing wellness.
• In addition to a standard medical
curriculum, naturopathic physicians
study clinical nutrition, homeopathic
medicine, botanical medicine,
philosophy, physical medicine,
• Naturopathic medical students take
courses which address conventional,
naturopathic, and integrative
medicine, and functional medicine
approaches to such health systems
as: gastroenterology, immunology,
infectious disease, urology,
endocrinology, and urology.
• A naturopathic physician must pass
a rigorous professional board in
order to be licensed by a state or
For more information, visit: naturopathic.org/education