Naturopathic medicine fundamentally recognizes the body's innate ability to heal and seeks to support this healing process. Many naturopathic doctors aim to use the least invasive therapies that are still effective. This way, the body has the support it needs to heal, but doesn't have to manage anything extra, leading to fewer side effects and long-lasting results.
Naturopathic doctors are currently licensed in 20 states in the US. In licensed states, Naturopathic Doctors are required to graduate from an accredited 4-year naturopathic institution, pass the postdoctoral NPLEX examination and maintain licensure with continued education each year.
Education and Training for ND's
"Accredited naturopathic medical schools are four-year, in-residence, hands-on medical programs consisting of a minimum of 4,100 hours of class and clinical training. During naturopathic medical school, students are educated in the biomedical sciences as well as the latest advances in science in combination with natural approaches to therapy. They also study disease prevention and clinical techniques.
In addition to a standard medical curriculum, schools require their graduates to complete four years of training in disciplines such as clinical nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, physical medicine, and counseling. For at least the final two years of their medical program, naturopathic medical students intern in clinical settings under the close supervision of licensed professionals.
Given the importance of hands-on, clinical experience for naturopathic medical students, the accrediting body for naturopathic medical colleges does not recognize degrees from online programs of study."
Source: AANP FAQ Page
Naturopathic doctors work together with other medical providers, and are trained to recognize when referrals are appropriate. Naturopathic doctors and conventionally trained doctors (MD's and DO's) can work especially well together for treating patients with:
- Chronic diseases or lifestyle-related conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or hypertension. These require a high level of patient engagement in their own health as well as time to realize the full benefits of recommended treatments
- Significant side effects from medical treatments for conditions such as cancer. While a medical doctor can administer the chemotherapy that fights the cancer, ND's can use natural therapies to help mitigate side effects and promote overall health during treatment
- Chronic pain without the use of highly addictive opioids
- A desire to build and maintain a foundation of optimal health and well-being
- Symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, and gastrointestinal distress who have exhausted other options and still do not have an actionable diagnosis or are not improving with current treatments