What is a Naturopathic Physician?

Illness --> Wellness --> Fitness

At its core, naturopathic medicine is what medicine used to be before drugs and surgery became the conventional ways of treating illness.

Naturopathic physicians trained in North America are primary care doctors (general practitioners), first seen by the patient for preventative general health care, as well as for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic conditions.  This is different from naturopaths trained in the UK and Australia, where the degree is undergraduate.

While drugs and surgery are vital and effective in treating life threatening or serious illnesses and injuries, they are currently being overused for chronic or less serious illnesses. They often do nothing to actually help a patient heal, and may get in the way of the true healing process or even create new health problems in the form of side effects.

Naturopathic physicians combine the rigors of modern science with the wisdom of nature. Naturopathic medicine focuses on holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. By using protocols that minimize the risk of harm, naturopathic physicians help facilitate the body's inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health. It is the naturopathic physician's role to identify and remove barriers to good health by helping to create a healing internal and external environment.

A naturopathic physician has a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree from an accredited four-year graduate level naturopathic medical university with admission requirements comparable to those of conventional medical schools.

The ND degree requires four years of graduate level study in medical sciences such as:

  • Anatomy & Physiology 
  • Biochemistry 
  • Cardiology 
  • Clinical & Physical Diagnosis      
  • Gastroenterology
  • Gynecology 
  • Immunology
  • Minor surgery
  • Neurology
  • Obstetrics
  • Orthopedics
  • Pathology
  • Pediatrics
  • Pharmacology

Prior to practicing naturopathic medicine, graduates must pass their state's board licensing examination, and they are then subject to review by that state's Board of Examiners.