Naturopathic Doctors

What is a Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic Doctors (ND/NMD) are like primary care practitioners who use natural medicine and nutrition for treatments rather than medications or surgery. Naturopathic doctors look for the underlying cause of disease and use the least invasive, cutting-edge natural therapies for treatment. While diet and nutrition are at the heart of naturopathic medicine, it also provides a variety of tools such as herbs, supplements, homeopathy, and hydrotherapy. Naturopathic doctors make it a priority to spend an adequate amount of time with each patient in order to understand our patients needs, goals, and concerns. You can expect an individualized and holistic medical care.

What is a Naturopathic Education?

Naturopathic doctors must attend one of the 8 accredited naturopathic medical schools throughout the US and Canada. The first two years involve basic science courses, diagnostic work, and physical exams. The last two years focus on naturopathic treatment modalities and patient care. Naturopathic doctors are trained in a family practice clinic, are supervised by naturopathic doctors, and occasionally chiropractors and conventional medical doctors.

Naturopathic doctors must pass 2 sets of boards to become board certified doctors. The first set follows the second year of coursework and covers the basic sciences. The second set follows graduation from the program. Currently 26 states license Naturopathic doctors and Minnesota Naturopaths have been registered since 2008.

Naturopathic doctors practice under the 6 naturopathic principles:

  1. The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae): Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in people that is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this inherent self-healing process.
  2. Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam): The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
  3. First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere): Naturopathic physicians follow three guidelines to avoid harming the patient.
    1. Utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat;
    2. Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms; and
    3. Acknowledge, respect, and work with individuals’ self-healing process.
  4. Doctor as Teacher (Docere): Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
  5. Treat the Whole Person: Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.
  6. Prevention: Naturopathic physicians emphasize the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and by making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness.
  • Source: AANP,