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“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” � Thomas Edison

Edison’s words are truly prophetic. A revolution is occurring in healthcare. Science and medicine now have in their possession the technology and understanding necessary to appreciate the value of natural therapies. At the forefront of this revolution is Naturopathy, sometimes called Naturopathic Medicine. Although the term Naturopathy was not used until the late 19th century, its philosophical roots can be traced back to Hippocrates. It is a system of health-oriented medicine which stresses maintenance of health and prevention of disease. Hippocratic practitioners assumed that everything in nature had a rational basis.

The Hippocratic Physician’s role was to understand and follow
the laws of the intelligible universe. They viewed disease as an effect, and looked for its
cause in natural phenomena, such as air, water and food. They used the term vis medicatrix
, the healing power of nature, to denote the body’s ability to heal itself.

Continuing the Hippocratic philosophy, Naturopathy is both a way of life and
a concept of healing, employing various natural means of preventing and treating human disease.
The basic approach is:

  • Discover and eliminate the causes of disease, when treatment is necessary

  • Use the most natural, non-toxic and least invasive therapies

  • Treat the whole person

  • Teach a patient to develop a healthy diet and lifestyle

  • Trust in the vis medicatrix naturae, the healing power of nature

Doctors of Naturopathy are educated as general practitioners whose training
encompasses a broad spectrum of natural therapies as well as the standard health sciences.
Graduate schools of Naturopathy require four years of study and clinical experience, then
award the title of Naturopathic Doctor � ND. The curriculum includes Nutrition, Botanical
Medicine, Psychology, Homeopathy, traditional Chinese Medicine and several types of
physical medicine, such as hydrotherapy, physiotherapy and manipulative therapy.

Naturopathic doctors encourage patients to take active roles in maintaining the body’s
natural state of balance. They help patients to overcome their self-image as flawed or
diseased, and to regain the power that lies within themselves.

Licensing and Registration

Naturopathic Physicians – those with four-year, medical-type training and clinical experience – are licensed to practice in only eleven states � probably because Naturopathic remedies and practices do not create the problems requiring tight scrutiny by local government. However, Washington DC provides registration to practice Naturopathy within the District of Columbia for two- and four-year graduates. Although the DC cannot � and does not � provide a registration for the other states and US territories, the practice has been that DC registrants practicing in those states and US territories without a licensing board are using the DC registration as one means of establishing credibility and due diligence.

The DC registration law is posted at DC’s service organization under DC Naturopathy Regulations. Registration is managed by the Washington DC Dept of Health Regulation Administration, Healthcare Licensing and Customer Service Division, Naturopathy Board, (202)442-4770, Bonnie Rampersaud, Professional Licensing Director. The American Naturopathic Medical Certification and Accreditation Board (ANMCAB) certifies most of the Naturopaths in the US and nearly all of the registrants in Washington DC.

Make sure that the Naturopathic Practitioner you use has a state license, or is registered in Washington DC and board certified by ANMCAB.

An interesting essay on the licensing issue appears on the ANMA website at Certification versus Licensing.

You’ll find some political rhetoric on both the ANMA and the AANP websites. We favor ignoring the fighting and looking at the information and benefits of using a personable, well-trained ND who will evaluate, diagnose and recommend remedies and therapies that follow Naturopathy’s principles and ethics.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is recognizing the importance of holistically-oriented MDs and the Naturopathy profession in furthering both CompWellness Network through action and research.

See the eGuide Naturopathy chapter and other chapters for the separate modalities, as well as American Naturopathic Medical Association (ANMA) website. The ANMA can be reached in Nevada at (702)897-7053 or by Email.

Source: Philip Keesee, RN, ND, Denver CO