Skip to Content
Home > Wellness Resources > Health Library > Naturopathic Medicine
medicine (or naturopathy) is based on the belief that the body can heal itself. It aims to improve health, prevent disease,
and treat illness through the use of organic foods and exercise;
a healthy, balanced lifestyle; and the use of treatments
from other areas of complementary medicine. (These treatments include ayurveda, homeopathy, and
Naturopathy was developed in the late 1800s in
the United States. Today, both naturopathic doctors and traditional naturopaths practice naturopathic medicine. A licensed naturopathic doctor (ND) attends a 4-year,
graduate-level naturopathic medical school where he or she studies basic sciences and therapies such as herbal medicine, homeopathy, and bodywork. Naturopaths may attend training programs that vary in length and content, but they usually aren't licensed.
naturopathic doctors and naturopaths believe in natural therapies,
such as nutrition and lifestyle counseling. They tend to avoid treating with prescription medicines but may prescribe herbal medicines,
homeopathic dilutions, or nutritional supplements.
Some people use
naturopathic medicine to promote good health, prevent disease, and
treat illness. Most naturopathic doctors can treat earaches, allergies, and other
common health problems.
Two common concerns about
naturopathy are the use of fasting and a bias against
Talk with your medical doctor about any complementary health practice that you would like to try or are already using. Your medical doctor can help you manage your health better if he or she knows about all of your health practices.
Naturopathy licensing varies from state to state. Not all states require
naturopathic doctors to be licensed. Also, not all naturopathic training programs are
the same. Some schools grant degrees that are not accepted by state licensing
boards. In the United States, the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education
(CNME) is the only agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to
accredit naturopathic programs and colleges.
Before you choose a
naturopathic doctor, find out if the person graduated from an accredited college.
Also check to see if your state has licensing laws that govern the
practice of NDs. If your state licenses NDs, ask the ND if he
or she is licensed.
Other Works Consulted
Zeff JL, et al. (2013). A hierarchy of healing: The therapeutic order. In JE Pizzorno, MT Murray, eds., Textbook of Natural Medicine, 4th ed., pp. 18–33. St. Louis: Mosby.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKathleen M. Fairfield, MD, MPH, DrPH - Internal Medicine
Current as ofMay 26, 2016
Current as of:
May 26, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen M. Fairfield, MD, MPH, DrPH - Internal Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.