I am a naturopathic physician. Unfortunately, the majority of people I meet have no idea what it means. I get responses like “So you’re a homeopath”, “So you don’t believe in drugs and do everything natural”, and my favorite response, “So you use marijuana to treat a lot of stuff”. It would be much easier for me to simply say I’m a wellness doctor or a holistic doctor but what do those terms mean?
A Naturopathic Physician is a profession recognized and defined by the United State Department of Labor as a primary care physician. Technically there is no such thing as a holistic, integrative, alternative, wellness, natural, homeopathic, or even complementary doctor. Sure people call themselves these titles but literally anyone and I mean anyone can identify themselves by these titles. Not anyone can call themselves a Naturopathic Physician.
Naturopathic physicians complete a bachelors degree before completing about 5,000 hours of training in subjects varying from Biochemistry and Cell Physiology to Physical and Botanical Medicine. We even take courses in pharmacology and minor surgery because there is a time and place of more invasive approaches.
We have schools that are accredited at the national level (not state) and have boards that are recognized by the United States Department of Education. For more information please follow the links below:
Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) – Accrediting Agency
North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE) – National Board
American Association of Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) – Accredited naturopathic medical schools