What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic medicine blends centuries-old natural, non-toxic therapies with current advances in the study of health and human systems, covering all aspects of family health from prenatal to geriatric care.

Naturopathic medicine concentrates on whole-patient wellness and the medicine is tailored to the patient and emphasizes prevention and self-care. Naturopathic medicine attempts to find the underlying cause of the patientís condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment. Naturopathic Physicians cooperate with all other branches of medical science referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.

Naturopathic Medical Education

A licensed naturopathic physician (N.D.) attends a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school and is educated in all of the same basic sciences as an M.D. but also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician is required to complete four years of training in clinical nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and counseling (to encourage people to make lifestyle changes in support of their personal health).

History of Naturopathic Medicine

As a distinct American health care profession, naturopathic medicine is almost 100 years old. Its roots go back through medical history to the healing wisdom of many cultures and times. At the turn of the century, practitioners of a variety of medical disciplines combined natural therapeutics in a way they hadnít been combined before, and joined together to form the first naturopathic professional medical societies. Naturopathic medical conventions in the 1920ís attracted more than 10,000 practitioners. Earlier in the century there were more than 20 naturopathic medical colleges, and naturopathic physicians were licensed in a majority of the states.

Naturopathic Medicine experienced a decline in the 1940ís and 1950ís with the rise and popularity of pharmaceutical drugs and the idea that drugs could eliminate all disease. It has experienced a resurgence in the last two decades, as a health conscious public began to seek out alternatives to conventional medicine.

For more information on Naturopathic Medicine:
 The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP)