Naturopathic Doctors have a minimum of 8 years of education. The last 4 years are spent at an accredited medical school that specializes in Naturopathic Medicine. Here, the students are educated in all the same basic sciences as an MD, along with nutrition, botanicals, minor surgery, homeopathy, physical medicine and manipulations, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, mind-body medicine, IV therapy, detoxification, hydrotherapy and environmental medicine. ND’s must pass their national boards (basic science after the first 2 years and clinical medicine at the completion of the 4 year program) and are regulated by their state licensing agency. Each state determines the scope of practice for their ND’s. Naturopathic Medicine is designed to assist the body in its own healing by stimulating the patient’s “vital force” using a variety of modalities including lifestyles changes, plant medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, cleansing and counseling.
Each patient is taught to take charge of their own health and is an active participant in their own care. Naturopathic Doctors treat the cause and not just the symptoms. There is a belief that if you “treat the physiology you will restore the pathology”. A thorough intake is taken that looks at the “whole person” including personal health history, family history, home environment, work environment, sleep, diet, recreation, hobbies, mood, elimination, review of all organ systems of the body, water intake, and lifestyle choices. ND’s can also order labs, perform exams (including gynecological exams), write prescriptions, diagnose and treat.