What is a Naturopathic Doctor?

dr-stillsMany people are unclear about what a naturopathic doctor, also known as an “ND” or “NMD”, is and isn’t. Some are surprised to learn that:

  • Licensed naturopathic doctors must have completed a bachelor’s degree and attended an accredited naturopathic medical school.
  • There, students undergo two years of initial medical training and coursework comparable to that of conventional doctors.
  • Like conventional medical students, they then complete clinical training.
  • Naturopathic doctors must pass state board exams and be licensed by the state to practice medicine
  • Naturopathic doctors have DEA licenses and can prescribe pharmaceuticals if appropriate.

Is a Naturopath the Same As An ND?

As you seek healing, it is important for you to know that a “naturopath” is not the same as a “naturopathic doctor”, “ND” or “NMD.”

Only a doctor with accredited medical training and a current, state-issued license can identify as a “naturopathic doctor” and legally practice naturopathic medicine.

How is Naturopathic Medicine Different From Conventional Medicine in the US?

The healing techniques of naturopathic doctors weave together ways of traditional ways of healing with modern science and empirical data, but the core of naturopathy is always the same: using the power of nature to rouse the body’s incredible power to heal itself. Doing so may involve any number of natural therapeutics and healing modalities, including homeopathy, acupuncture, meditation, herbal remedies, nutrition, physical activity and more.

While a naturopathic doctor may occasionally refer patients to consult another specialist or even a surgeon, naturopathic medicine focuses on healing by cleansing and strengthening the body to address and prevent both chronic and acute disease. Naturopathic doctors believe many illnesses can be prevented and/or healed without surgery or chemically synthesized pharmaceuticals.

Learn More

You can learn more about naturopathic medicine through The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, the national professional society representing licensed naturopathic physicians.