What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic doctors receive undergraduate training in standard premedical courses, followed by four years at a naturopathic medical school.  The academic training in medical sciences of naturopathic and conventional physicians is similar.  Both study modern physical, clinical and laboratory diagnosis.  Naturopathic doctors are also trained in therapies that work to restore and support the body’s innate self-healing processes, using treatments and medicines that are not toxic to the body.

Some history of Naturopathy and Naturopathic Medicine

In 1902, practitioners of a variety of medical disciplines combined their natural healing therapeutics and joined together to form the first naturopathic professional societies.  Naturopathic medical conventions in the 1920’s attracted more than 10,000 practitioners.  There were more than 20 naturopathic medical colleges, and naturopathic physicians were licensed in a majority of the states.

With the rise of pharmaceutical drugs (antibiotics, etc.) in the 40’s and 50’s, and the idea that these drugs could eliminate all disease, naturopathic medicine experienced a sharp decline.  It has experienced a slow resurgence starting in the mid-60’s.

Currently, 13 states, the District of Columbia, and the US territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have licensing laws for naturopathic doctors.  There are currently four naturopathic medical schools in the U.S., and two schools in Canada.

For more information on naturopathic medicine in Washington, click here.