Frequently Asked Questions
About Naturopathy

Specifically, what therapies do naturopathic physicians use?
Naturopathic physicians are extensively trained in nutrition (diet and nutritional supplements), health-risk assessment, homeopathy, botanical medicine, counseling, and naturopathic physical medicine (such as therapeutic ultrasound, diathermy, hydrotherapy, and naturopathic manipulative therapy).
Naturopathic childbirth (with special training), minor office procedures (superficial skin wound repair, etc.), and naturally derived prescription drugs and their synthetic analogs (antibiotics, hormones, etc.) are also part of naturopathic training and practice.
In the naturopathic approach, it is often not the specific treatment alone that distinguishes naturopathic treatment and practice but the holistic perspective and rationale that informs the treatment strategy.

Do N.D.s practice in other states?
Naturopathic physicians practice in virtually every state in the U.S. under various legal provisions.  Currently, 14 states and the District of Columbia license N.D.s as primary care physicians. 

What is outside the scope of naturopathic practice?
Naturopathic physicians are not trained in general surgery, surgical repair of fractures, chemotherapy or forensic medicine.

What training do naturopathic physicians receive?
After completing traditional pre-med courses at accredited universities or colleges, N.D.s attend four-year graduate level naturopathic medical schools recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.  Emphasizing basic and clinical medical sciences, the curriculum and hours of instruction are comparable to conventional medical schools.

Must N.D.s pass a competency exam before being licensed?
Yes, every state licensing N.D.s requires that each applicant pass the national Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam, or other standardized competency-based board exam that tests basic science and clinical science proficiency.

Where does naturopathic medicine fit within the existing healthcare system?
Now in the U.S. about 40% of healthcare consumers are using progressive, alternative therapies.  N.D.s are trained to provide physician-level care, centered in the natural medicine that many patients are seeking.  In addition, their broad training allows N.D.s to refer patients to various conventional medical specialists and alternative practitioners alike.  Because of numerous treatment options, conventional and alternative, N.D.s make effective primary care physicians.

Is naturopathic medical care cost-effective?
Yes.  Because naturopathic medicine emphasizes prevention, patient participation, and technologically simpler treatments, naturopathic care is a cost-effective option.  One cost-benefit study concluded that naturopathic treatment:

  • reduced or eliminated the need for prescription or non-prescription medication;
  • reduced the need for surgery, medical interventions, procedures, and services;
  • increased patients' ability to give self-care
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