Naturopathic physicians in the United States are independent medical providers with training in conventional medical sciences, diagnosis and treatment, and natural therapeutics. They are licensed by state Naturopathic Board of Medical Examiners after graduating from four-year nationally accredited naturopathic medical schools and passing their NPLEX board examinations. They are educated the same basic sciences as M.D.s but also study holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness.
Naturopathic physicians are specially trained in clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, physical manipulation and minor surgery. Some naturopathic physicians also have additional training in natural childbirth, acupuncture and Chinese or oriental medicine. These subspecialties often involve additional years of study. Naturopathic physicians are required to attend continuing education yearly in order to maintain and renew their licenses.
Naturopathic physicians are licensed to diagnose and treat disease in Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and the US Territories of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. Naturopathic physicians also practice in every other state.
Naturopathic physicians work alone or in cooperation with both conventional and alternative practitioners to provide patients with complete medical care. Naturopathic physicians can bridge disparate fields with their training in both conventional and non-conventional treatment. Naturopathic physicians are able to identify and prescribe appropriate treatment and refer to conventional physicians when necessary.
Botanical Medicine uses various types of plants as medicinal agents in the treatment of disease. Also known as Herbal medicine, this form of treatment takes advantage of the integrity of a whole plant as opposed to the isolated components used in allopathic pharmaceuticals that usually have powerful negative side effects.
Clinical Nutrition is an area of medicine that seeks to identify and treat medical disorders in humans that result from improper or inadequate diet, or from diseases that make the body unable to handle the nutrients delivered to it in the normal diet.
Physical Medicine is the application and use of the principles of physics (heat, light, electricity, water, massage and manipulation) in the treatment of pathological conditions, injuries, and physical anomalies affecting the human body.
Lifestyle Counseling and Stress Management are tools to help patients cope with stress and any mental/emotional issues with which they may be dealing.