Naturopathy is a system of natural healthcare that has roots dating back hundreds, even thousands of years. Benedict Lust first coined the term “naturopathy” back in the late 1800s. While naturopathy’s popularity over the past 125 years has ebbed and flowed, today it is growing and expanding.
Naturopathic Physicians (NDs) are currently licensed in 23 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, licensure is also available in four Canadian Provinces, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The education received by licensable naturopathic physicians is a four-year accredited graduate program consisting of two years of in-depth sciences (comparable with that of conventional medical schools) followed by two years of clinical training, and also includes classes in specifically naturopathic treatments. Completion of this course of study results in the degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. The graduate is then eligible to take the NPLEX exam, which he or she must pass in order to obtain licensure. NDs are trained to be primary care physicians, and in some licensed states, are included on insurance plans along with MDs and DOs.
In 1989 licensed Naturopathic Physicians throughout the United States came together to describe the underlying philosophy that sets them apart from other healthcare practitioners. The result was the “Principles of Naturopathic Medicine”. The six principles are as follows:
Licensed Naturopathic Physicians follow these naturopathic principles by using a variety of different therapies, depending on the licensure status of the states they practice in. Some of these therapies include, but are not limited to: diet and nutritional therapies, nutritional supplements, homeopathy, botanical medicine, counseling and lifestyle changes, hydrotherapy and other physical medicine, as well as more invasive therapies such as IV therapies or minor surgery. Ohio currently does not offer licensure for naturopathic physicians so NDs practicing in Ohio do not do every therapy listed above. However, naturopathic physicians in Ohio do work as health consultants to help each individual achieve the best health and healing possible. In order to be sure that an individual ND has graduated from an accredited school (and is therefore licensable), you can contact the AANP or OHNDA for more information.