About Naturopathic Doctors
What is a Naturopathic Doctor?
A Naturopathic Doctor is a licensed doctor of naturopathic medicine and will either use the designation of ND or NMD. We are sometimes called holistic doctors or naturopaths, but the correct designation is Naturopatic Doctor or Naturopathic Medical Doctor.
Naturopathic Doctors are currently licensed or are registered in 22 states, five Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia, and the US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands all have laws regulating naturopathic doctors (NDs). In these states and provinces, naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from a four-year, residential naturopathic medical school and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license or registration.
Licensed naturopathic physicians must fulfill state or province-mandated continuing education requirements annually, and have a specific scope of practice defined by the law in their state or province. In Arizona, 30 CME units must be completed annually with 10 CME in pharmacology.
States currently offering licensure or registration to naturopathic physicians include:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- U.S. Territories: Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands
For more information on licensure in the United States, please visit the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians website.
Provinces currently offering regulation and registration to naturopathic physicians include:
- British Columbia
For more information on licensure in Canada, please visit the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors website.
In Arizona, a Naturopathic Physician’s scope of practice includes:
- All primary medical care services including performing physical examinations
- Minor surgeries
- Ordering labs
- Prescribing pharmaceuticals
- Any diagnosis or treatment that falls under the Naturopathic medical scope as defined by that state's Naturopathic Medical Board
Sounds much like a regular doctor, right? So what’s the difference?
A Naturopathic doctor is different in their focus and philosophy. As a part of the Naturopathic philosophy, the mind, body, and spirit are all seen as interconnected. Thus optimal health can only be achieved through the balancing of the whole body. Believing in the premise that the body can heal itself, we attempt to restore the body to wellness rather than fight disease.
Most Naturopathic Physicians are very focused on teaching and educating patients. A strong emphasis is placed on lifestyle modifications including diet strategies, fitness, and stress reduction techniques. In Arizona, many ND’s treat their patients with Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Botanical, Homeopathic, and vitamin and mineral supplementation are routinely implemented as a part of overall patient care. Many Naturopathic Physicians offer nutrient intravenous therapies and detoxification programs. ND’S may also perform physical manipulations/adjustments and massage therapies. A Naturopathic Doctor can treat an array of acute and chronic medical conditions. Naturopathic doctors are very well trained and often refer to other medical specialists and/or work alongside other physician in an integrated manner.
Specifically, all Naturopathic Physicians upon graduating vow to uphold the following tenants:
- First, Do No Harm. Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies first.
- Identify and Treat the Cause. Look beyond the symptoms to effectively address the underlying cause(s) of illness.
- The Healing Power of Nature. Trust the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself.
- Treat the Whole Person. View the body as an integrated whole comprised of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions.
- Doctor as Teacher. Educate the patients in the steps to achieving and maintaining optimal health.
- Prevention. Focus on promoting health and wellness, and preventing disease.