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What is Naturopathic Medicine?


Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing process.  The practice of naturopathic medicine includes modern and traditional, scientific, and empirical methods. 

Although Naturopathic Physicians are licensed in twenty states, they are not currently licensed in Texas.  

Naturopathic medical training programs are four-year, in-residence, graduate-level medical school programs at accredited naturopathic medicine schools. Five naturopathic medicine schools in the United States (one with two campuses) and two naturopathic medicine schools in Canada are members of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medicine Colleges (AANMC), and have been accredited by one of the regional accrediting agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, AANMC member schools’ naturopathic medical programs have been accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME), the recognized accreditor for naturopathic medical programs in North America.


Like conventional medical schools, naturopathic medical programs require that applicants meet specific pre-requisites. Though the requirements differ slightly from school to school, all AANMC member schools require an undergraduate degree; have minimum GPA requirements; and academic prerequisites, encompassing biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, psychology, social sciences, and humanities.

The Curriculum 

Licensed and licensable Naturopathic Doctors are educated in all the same biomedical sciences as an MD. NDs study holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. Naturopathic medicine students learn to treat all aspects of family health and wellness, from pediatrics to geriatrics. Clinical exposure to patients is essential to the education of Naturopathic Doctors – so much so that clinical training is now being introduced during the first and second years of education at most AANMC-member schools. 

Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic physicians practice the six fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine:

The Healing Power of Nature
Trust in the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself.

Identify and Treat the Causes
Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause.

First Do No Harm
Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.

Doctor as Teacher
Educate patients in the steps to achieving and maintaining health.

Treat the Whole Person
View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions.

Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.

Naturopathic Therapeutics

Naturopathic physicians have a number of therapies to offer, including but not limited to:

  • herbal/botanical medicine
  • nutritional counseling
  • nutraceuticals/supplements
  • physical manipulation
  • acupuncture
  • lifestyle counseling/coaching
  • hydrotherapy
  • massage
  • acupuncture