Naturopathic medicine integrates conventional and natural medicine diagnosis and treatment options. All naturopathic doctors are trained as general medicine doctors, with additional specialty in natural medicine oriented care.
In the US and Canada there are 8 accredited naturopathic medical schools. Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) complete 4 year post-graduate medical education that consists of basic science education similar to that of MD and DO training, as well clinical science classes that encorporate integrative treatment approaches to address health conditions including: nutrition, diet counseling, botanical medicine, homeopathy, lifestyle education, physical medicine in addition to pharmacology, emergency medicine and minor surgery. Upon successful completion of 4 years of study, over 1300 outpatient clinic rotation hours and passage of two sets of national board examinations, naturopathic medical graduates are then eligible to apply for ND licensure at the state level. Naturopathic Doctors are well trained in the diagnosis of all diseases and standard conventional medicine care practices. In addition, Naturopathic medical training places a huge emphasis on understanding normal physiology and how to approach health care from a preventive, as well as, restorative lens. Naturopathic Doctors are specialists in wellness-oriented care.
A naturopathic medical appointments will typically include a review of all prior medical history, assessment of pertinent lab orders/imaging/and physical exam, appropriate referrals for additional work-up or adjunct care (i.e., cardiologist, gastroenterologist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, psychotherapist, etc), and a treatment plan that includes diet, lifestyle supplement & Rx medications that are needed. NDs spend a lot of time with their patients in order to educate them on foundational diet & lifestyle practices that are important to restoring and maintaining good health.
For more information on naturopathic medical training and practice, here are some resources:
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
The California Naturopathic Doctors Association
Realize Health – Find a Naturopathic Doctor
National College of Natural Medicine – ND Curriculum