How Naturopathic Medicine Can Help You

Whether you live with a chronic illness or rarely have health complaints, seeing a licensed naturopathic doctor (ND) can help improve your quality of life.

The only doctors trained to use conventional diagnostic testing and natural treatments, NDs emphasize disease prevention, the body’s inherent healing ability and treating the whole person. The NDs at Bastyr University Clinic will help you become a full partner in your own health care, teaching you how to gain control of your health and encouraging you to make thoughtful and informed decisions regarding your own care.

Who Can Benefit from Naturopathic Care?

Naturopathic medicine provides all aspects of preventive and natural health for your entire family. NDs can help patients prevent, alleviate, and in some cases even reverse chronic health conditions such as asthma, arthritis and diabetes. NDs also help their patients prevent and recover from minor ailments such as a common cold, flu or minor injury. Additionally, annual wellness exams make an important component of preventive health and are included in your treatment plan under an ND. View a more comprehensive list of health conditions most commonly treated by NDs.

If you are unsure of how to choose the best treatment for  your health condition – no matter how broad or specific your concern may be – simply begin by making an appointment with a naturopathic care team. Your team will take ample time to listen to your concerns and fully assess your health. They will then offer a thorough diagnosis and recommend a comprehensive treatment plan suited to your individual needs. Plan for your initial appointment to last approximately 60-90 minutes.

Scope of Practice for Naturopathic Doctors

Under California state law, NDs have a broad scope of practice and are licensed as primary care doctors. NDs can diagnose, order lab and imaging tests, and treat illness with natural therapies. NDs can also prescribe all hormones independently and can prescribe many other drugs under the written supervision of an MD or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO).

The Six Principles

The term “naturopathy” was coined in 1892 to describe a rapidly growing system of natural therapeutics that drew from Hippocrates and the traditional and indigenous medicines of the world. Today’s naturopathic doctors easily blend modern, science-based diagnostic and therapeutic procedures with ancient and traditional methods. They follow the six fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine:

  1. The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Nature)
  2. Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam)
  3. First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)
  4. Doctor as Teacher (Docere)
  5. Treat the Whole Person
  6. Prevention

Licensure Requirements of Naturopathic Doctors

All states and provinces with laws regulating the practice of naturopathic medicine require a resident course of at least four years and 4,100 hours of doctoral-level study from a college or university recognized by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). To qualify for a license, the applicant must satisfactorily pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX), which includes basic sciences, diagnostic and therapeutic subjects and clinical sciences.

Applicants must satisfy all licensing requirements for the state or province to which they have applied. Please consult the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) website for current U.S. licensure information.

Legal Status of the Profession

Currently, naturopathic doctors are licensed or registered as health care providers in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Legal provisions allow the practice of naturopathic medicine in several other states. Naturopathic doctors are also recognized in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. Efforts to gain licensure elsewhere are currently under way.

Additionally, professional associations exist in 42 states and 11 provinces.