NDs are trained to perform or order physical exams, laboratory testing, gynecological exams, nutritional and dietary assessments, metabolic analysis, allergy testing, X-ray exams, and other diagnostic tests. They are the only physicians clinically trained in the use of a wide variety of natural therapeutics. They combine and adapt these treatments to the needs of the individual based on a cogent philosophy that ensures the patient is an active participant in making health care decisions. Naturopathic medicine is effective in treating most health problems, both acute and chronic. Some of the therapies* used by NDs are listed here.
Clinical Nutrition is a cornerstone of naturopathic medicine. It refers to the practice of using food to maintain health, the therapeutic use of food to treat illness, and the utilization of targeted vitamin and nutrient therapy, given orally and by IV, as part of their treatment plans.
Homeopathy is a powerful system of medicine that is more than 200 years old. This medical system uses highly diluted natural substances to treat illness. Some conditions that do not respond well to conventional medicine will respond to homeopathy.
Botanical Medicine is also known as herbal medicine and is the use of plants as medicine. Many plant substances are powerful, safe, and effective medicines when used properly.
Physical Medicine includes naturopathic manipulation of the muscles, bones and spine. Application of hot and cold, gentle electrical impulses, therapeutic ultrasound, hydrotherapy, and exercise therapy are also used.
Natural Childbirth is offered by NDs with additional specialty training. These physicians offer prenatal and postnatal care using the most modern diagnostic techniques. When natural childbirth is not medically appropriate, patients are referred for appropriate care.
Counseling and Stress Management is offered by NDs. Mental attitudes and emotional states can be important elements in healing illness, and NDs are trained in counseling, biofeedback, and other mind-body techniques.
Minor Surgery includes repair of superficial wounds and removal of foreign bodies, cysts and other superficial masses, with local anesthesia as needed.
*The existence or absence of licensing laws may affect the types of therapies a doctor can administer. Ask your ND for more information
Education and Training
Licensed NDs are graduates of four-year naturopathic medical schools with admissions requirements comparable to those of other medical schools. The Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND or NMD) or Doctor of Naturopathy (ND) degrees are awarded after extensive classroom, clinical and practical study. Medical science coursework includes cardiology, neurology, radiology, obstetrics, gynecology, immunology, dermatology, and pediatrics.
The accrediting agency for naturopathic medical colleges and programs in North America is the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). CNME is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the national accrediting agency for programs leading to the ND or NMD degree. Visit www.cnme.org for a full list of naturopathic medical schools.
Licensure and Regulation
Currently, NDs are licensed to practice in 20 states and territories. Not only must licensed NDs graduate from a CNME-accredited naturopathic medical school, but they must then pass an extensive national postdoctoral exam in order to receive a license. They must also fulfill mandated continuing education requirements annually and have specific scopes of practice defined by their jurisdiction’s laws. The states that license NDs are:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota