Naturopathic doctors often combine different complementary therapies—such as massage, herbal medicine, or diet—to help the body heal itself and stay well. Naturopaths do not prescribe drugs or do surgeries. But they may refer people to a medical doctor or specialist when needed. In some states, naturopaths have a limited ability to prescribe medicines.
A licensed naturopathic doctor (ND) attends a graduate-level naturopathic medical school. The ND studies basic sciences along with alternative approaches to therapy, such as herbal medicine, homeopathy, and bodywork. Naturopathic doctors typically do not continue with postgraduate training, such as internships and residency programs.
After completing the naturopathic medical program, an ND is eligible for a licensing examination in states that have a licensing boards and standards of practice. NDs are licensed in many states but also practice in other states with no official government sanction.
Where there are no licensing standards, someone who has little or no formal education may proclaim himself or herself a naturopathic doctor without having completed medical school education or board testing.
Current as of: February 19, 2016
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Donations to UW Health are managed by the University of Wisconsin Foundation, a publicly supported charitable organization under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.