Education and Licensing

Definition of Naturopathic Medicine
A naturopathic doctor diagnoses, treats, and cares for patients, using system of practice that bases treatment of physiological functions and abnormal conditions on natural laws governing human body: Utilizes physiological, psychological, and mechanical methods, such as air, water, light, heat, earth, phytotherapy, food and herb therapy, psychotherapy, electrotherapy, physiotherapy, minor surgery, mechanotherapy, naturopathic corrections and manipulation, together with natural medicines. Excludes major surgery, therapeutic use of x-ray and radium, except those assimilable substances containing elements or compounds of body tissues that are physiologically compatible to body processes for maintenance of life.

Naturopathic Medicine Education and Training
Naturopathic doctors hold a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from an accredited naturopathic medical school. The four-year post-graduate training consists of comprehensive study of the conventional medical sciences, including anatomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, immunology, clinical and physical diagnosis, laboratory diagnosis, cardiology, gastroenterology, gynecology, rheumatology, radiology and minor surgery. A Naturopathic Doctorate degree is unique, in that we also complete extensive academic and clinical education in the use of natural medicines including clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, physical medicine, IV therapies, hydrotherapy and counseling, in addition to all of the allopathic (MD) basic and clinical sciences.

Naturopathic Medical Licensing
Licensing laws for naturopathic doctors (ND and NMD) currently exist in 19 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and 12 Canadian provinces. Naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from an accredited four year residential naturopathic medical school and then pass 3 days of extensive national board exams in order to apply for a license. Naturopathic doctors are also subject to review by a state board of examiners.

In states that license naturopathic doctors, patients are able to choose naturopathic doctors as primary care providers who are capable of diagnosing, preventing and treating disease with an array of natural and pharmaceutical medicines. Naturopathic doctors are experts in drug/nutrient and drug/herb interactions.

The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) supports legislation to license ND’s in all 50 states in order to distinguish properly trained doctors from those individuals with dubious credentials and/or mail order degrees. AANP membership is limited to individuals who are eligible for licensure in states which issue licenses, have graduated from a recognized school and have completed national board exams.