About Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct and comprehensive system of primary health care that uses natural methods and substances to support and stimulate the body’s self-healing process. It is distinguished by the principles on which its practice is based. These principles include:

  1. The Healing Power of Nature: Naturopathic doctors (ND's) trust in the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself.
  2. Identify and Treat the Cause: Look beyond the symptoms to effectively address the underlying cause(s) of illness.
  3. First Do No Harm: Seek to utilize the most natural, least invasive, and least toxic therapies first.
  4. Doctor as Teacher: the primary role of an ND is a teacher who educates and encourages people to take responsibility for their own health and to take steps to achieve and maintain optimal health.
  5. Treat the Whole Person: Total health includes physical, emotional, mental, genetic, environmental, social, spiritual, and other factors.
  6. Prevention: Encourage and emphasize disease prevention and focus on promoting health and wellness.

ND's are licensed as primary care providers in thirteen states, and licensing efforts are underway in many others. Currently, naturopathic doctors are licensed in California by the bureau of naturopathic medicine. In order to obtain a license as a naturopathic doctor, one must graduate from a school accredited by the Council of Naturopathic Medical Education that offers a graduate degree of Doctor of Naturopathy or Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. The education requirements consist of at least 4,100 hours of training, of which not less that 2,500 hours are academic training, and not less than 1,200 hours are supervised clinical training. ND license candidates must also pass a licensing exam that is administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners.