Naturopathic Medicine is comprehensive approach to disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention utilizing nature-based therapies. The primary focus is to provide the least invasive, most efficacious, nontoxic therapies that address the cause of illness, not simply the suppression of symptoms. The natural healing tradition is ancient, stemming from before the time of Hippocrates. Naturopathic Medicine draws upon this historic therapeutic knowledge and combines it with modern, science-based medical research. Naturopathic physicians maintain an open-minded perspective allowing for the use of any therapy, old or new, as long as it adheres to the core philosophy and principles of naturopathic medicine.
Naturopathic physicians are the primary-care general practitioners of natural medicine. As in conventional medical school, applicants must show competency in specific, premedical requirements before being accepted to a U.S. Department of Education-accredited naturopathic medical school. After acceptance, ND candidates complete a rigorous, four-year academic and clinical program. This program combines the study of western medical sciences (such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, immunology, clinical and physical diagnosis, laboratory diagnosis, cardiology, gastroenterology, gynecology, etc.) with naturopathic therapies and philosophy.
Training also includes an applied clinical apprenticeship during the last two years. Naturopathic physicians must then pass standardized, federal, and state licensing exams to obtain a license.