Naturopathic medicine "Naturopathy" is a distinct system of health care that emphasizes prevention and the body's innate self-healing processes through the use of natural therapies. Steeped in traditional healing methods, principles, and practices, naturopathic medicine focuses on holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. ND's blend centuries-old knowledge and utilize the philosophy that nature is the most effective healer. Naturopathic medicine focuses on identifying the underlying cause(s) of disease and Integrative therapies typically involve natural interventions first, but when necessary conventional treatments and prescription therapy may be recommended as well.
Naturopathic doctors (NDs) can be considered primary and specialty care physicians who blend centuries-old knowledge with current research on health and human systems. By emphasizing individualized treatments that minimize the risk of harm, naturopathic physicians help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health. It is the naturopathic physician’s role to work in partnership with a patient to identify and remove barriers to health by striving to create a healing environment. In Washington State, naturopathic physicians are fully licensed by the Department of Health and have prescriptive authority for all non-controlled medications Naturopathic physicians have been regulated in Washington since 1919.
In Washington state, a naturopathic physician (ND) must successfully complete a four-year graduate-level naturopathic medical program at an accredited medical school. This academic program includes rigorous training in all of the same basic and clinical sciences that are taught in a conventional medical program, but it also includes training in holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. Some examples of coursework above and beyond the standard conventional medical curriculum that naturopathic physicians complete includes clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, nutrient therapy, counseling, hydrotherapy, exercise science, physical medicine, and homeopathy.
In order to become licensed to practice medicine in Washington State, a naturopathic physician must also complete and pass their professional NPLEX board exams.