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Common Questions About Naturopathic Medicine

Common Questions About Naturopathic Medicine


Naturopathic doctors and the patients they treat are often asked a number of questions about what naturopathic medicine is and what NDs exactly do.  We would like to answer some of these frequently asked questions so everyone can learn more about the medicine and all the benefits naturopathic physicians provide their patients.

Are naturopathic doctors really doctors?

Yes! Naturopathic doctors take similar introductory classes as traditional medical students in subjects such as anatomy and physiology.  They then learn about treating patients with a number of natural modalities. Naturopathic doctors practicing in regulated states/provinces must attend a rigorous 4-year doctorate program such as SCNM's as well as pass medical board examinations.  Only those who have done so are allowed to use the title of ND.  Naturopathic medicine is officially licensed in 26 states and Canadian provinces as well as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.  Many other states have legislation pending to license naturopathic medicine.  

What do naturopathic doctors do?

Naturopathic doctors treat a wide variety of medical conditions.  Some of the most common issues are: allergies, chronic pain, digestive issues, hormone imbalances, obesity, respiratory conditions, heart disease, fertility problems, menopause, food intolerances and adrenal fatigue. NDs specialize in natural treatment methods such as clinical nutrition, physical manipulation, botanical medicine, homeopathyacupuncture, counseling and hydrotherapy

NDs work in a number of different settings including, private practices, community health centers, naturopathic schools and clinics.  Many NDs also work in integrative medicine departments in major hospitals such as Memorial Sloan Kettering.

NDs emphasize preventative medicine. Rather than take a reactionary response to specific symptoms, naturopathic doctors evaluate the health of the whole patient and treat the root of their condition. NDs also pride themselves on the time they spend with their individual patients. A face to face visit with an ND is typically much longer than the average time spent speaking with an MD.  

Can naturopathic doctors write prescriptions?

This is dependent on the licensing laws in the state where the ND is practicing.  Naturopathic doctors are always seeking to treat patients in the most natural way possible rather than relying on pharmaceuticals.