Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care that concentrates on whole-patient wellness while emphasizing prevention and the process of self-healing using natural therapies, deeply rooted in both philosophy and practice. Naturopathic medicine attempts to find the underlying cause of the patient’s condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment.
Naturopathic practice includes the following diagnostic and therapeutic modalities: clinical and laboratory diagnostic testing, nutritional medicine, botanical medicine, naturopathic physical medicine (including naturopathic manipulative therapy), public health measures, hygiene, counseling, minor surgery, homeopathy, acupuncture, prescription medication, intravenous and injection therapy, and naturopathic obstetrics (natural childbirth).
Naturopathic physicians are clinically trained primary care physicians who have graduated from a four-year naturopathic medical school. They work with patients in all aspects of family health to identify the underlying causes of disease and provide evidence informed therapies to help facilitate the body’s ability to restore and maintain optimal health.
Naturopathic medicine is guided by the following principles:
Naturopathic Doctors will utilize various therapies, including lifestyle counseling such as addressing diet, exercise, sleep habits and stress management, along with natural interventions such as botanical medicine (herbs), nutritional supplements and homeopathic remedies.
Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians (PCPs) in a 4-year post-graduate medical school program. Programs are extensive, as they include learning not only the conventional methods of diagnosis and treatment, but also all the various ways to utilize natural medicine for health and healing. Upon graduation, many Naturopathic Doctors will complete a residency in their area of interest. Some choose to practice as PCPs, but most will practice in private clinics, practicing traditional naturopathic medicine as outlined abov
Naturopathic doctors have been at the forefront of the evolution of integrative medicine. In the last thirty years, the profession has grown from one that included just a few hundred practitioners who were licensed in 6 states, and a single naturopathic medical school. There are now 8 naturopathic medical schools recognized by the Federal Department of Education and approximately 6,000 licensed practitioners in 22 U.S. jurisdictions.
The AANP and the INM would like to acknowledge the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) for its contributions to the content of this FAQ.
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