Naturopathic Doctor

A system of medicine emphasizing the body's innate healing ability and using natural therapies.


Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care that combines modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are trained in the art and science of natural medicine, focusing on holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. NDs work to identify the underlying causes of illness and develop personalized treatment plans to address them, supporting the body's inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health.

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Naturopathic medicine has its roots in ancient healing traditions and philosophies from various cultures worldwide. The term "naturopathy" was coined in 1892 by John Scheel, and the practice was further developed by Benedict Lust in the early 20th century in the United States. Lust established the first naturopathic college in 1902 and helped popularize naturopathic medicine. Throughout the 20th century, naturopathic medicine faced challenges and declining popularity, but it experienced a resurgence in the 1970s as interest in alternative and holistic health grew. Today, licensed naturopathic doctors are trained at accredited naturopathic medical schools and work to integrate natural therapies with conventional medicine.


  1. Holistic Approach Naturopathic medicine addresses the root causes of illness, considering the whole person - mind, body, and spirit.
  2. Emphasis on Prevention NDs focus on disease prevention and promoting optimal health through lifestyle changes and natural therapies.
  3. Personalized Treatment Naturopathic treatment plans are tailored to each individual's unique needs, considering their health history, lifestyle, and goals.
  4. Natural and Non-invasive Naturopathic medicine prioritizes the use of natural, minimally invasive therapies to support the body's innate healing process.
  5. Integration with Conventional Medicine NDs are trained to work collaboratively with other healthcare providers, integrating natural therapies with conventional medicine when appropriate.
  6. Patient Empowerment Naturopathic doctors educate and empower patients to take an active role in their health and well-being.
  7. Reduced Side Effects By using natural therapies and addressing underlying causes, naturopathic medicine may help reduce the need for prescription medications and their associated side effects.

How It Works

Naturopathic doctors use a holistic approach to healthcare, focusing on the body's innate ability to heal itself. They combine traditional healing methods with modern scientific knowledge to address the root causes of illness rather than just treating symptoms. Naturopathic doctors use a variety of natural therapies, such as herbal medicine, nutrition, lifestyle counseling, and homeopathy, to support the body's natural healing processes. They also emphasize disease prevention and health promotion through patient education and empowerment.


While naturopathic medicine can be beneficial for many people, it's important to consider that not all conditions can be treated solely with natural therapies. In some cases, conventional medical treatment may be necessary. It's crucial to discuss any naturopathic treatments with your primary healthcare provider to ensure they don't interfere with existing medications or treatments. Additionally, not all states regulate naturopathic doctors, so it's essential to research a practitioner's qualifications and training before seeking treatment.

How Much It Costs

The cost of seeing a naturopathic doctor can vary depending on location, practitioner experience, and the specific treatments required. Initial consultations typically range from $150 to $400, while follow-up visits may cost between $75 and $200. Additional expenses may include the cost of supplements, herbal remedies, or specialized tests, which can range from $50 to $500 or more.

Virtual & Online Options

Virtual or online consultations with naturopathic doctors have become increasingly popular, offering convenience and accessibility for patients unable to visit a practitioner in person. Online consultations allow patients to receive personalized treatment plans and advice from the comfort of their own homes. However, in-person visits may be preferable for hands-on treatments, such as acupuncture or physical manipulations. Local naturopathic doctors can also provide a more personal touch and may be better equipped to perform physical examinations and diagnostic tests.


In states that regulate naturopathic medicine, naturopathic doctors must complete a four-year, graduate-level program at an accredited naturopathic medical school. They must also pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX) to become licensed. Look for practitioners who have earned the designation of Naturopathic Doctor (ND) or Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD). Some naturopathic doctors may also have additional certifications in specialized areas, such as acupuncture or homeopathy.

Complementary Practices

Naturopathic doctors often recommend complementary practices such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage therapy, nutritional counseling, and lifestyle modifications. These holistic approaches work synergistically with naturopathic principles to support the body's natural healing processes, promote overall well-being, and address the root causes of health issues rather than merely treating symptoms.

Practitioner Types

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are primary care practitioners trained in both conventional medicine and natural therapies. They often collaborate with other healthcare professionals such as medical doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and nutritionists to provide comprehensive, patient-centered care. Some naturopathic doctors specialize in specific areas like oncology, pediatrics, or environmental medicine.

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  • Q: What is the difference between a naturopathic doctor and a conventional medical doctor?

    • A: Naturopathic doctors (NDs) and medical doctors (MDs) both undergo extensive training, but NDs focus on a holistic approach that emphasizes prevention, natural therapies, and treating the underlying cause of illness. MDs primarily use conventional treatments such as prescription medications and surgery.
  • Q: Are naturopathic treatments covered by health insurance?

    • A: Coverage for naturopathic treatments varies by insurance provider and plan. Some plans may cover certain services, such as preventive care or specific therapies when medically necessary. It's best to check with your insurance provider to determine your coverage.
  • Q: How can I find a qualified naturopathic doctor in my area?

    • A: To find a qualified naturopathic doctor, visit the website of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) and use their 'Find a Doctor' tool. You can search by location, specialty, or condition. Ensure the practitioner has attended an accredited naturopathic medical school and is licensed in your state.
  • Q: What conditions can naturopathic medicine help treat?

    • A: Naturopathic medicine can help treat a wide range of conditions, including digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, chronic pain, allergies, autoimmune disorders, and mental health concerns. Naturopathic doctors also focus on disease prevention and optimizing overall health and well-being.
  • Q: Are naturopathic treatments safe and evidence-based?

    • A: Naturopathic treatments are generally safe when provided by a qualified practitioner. Many natural therapies have been used for centuries and are supported by scientific research. However, as with any medical treatment, it's essential to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your naturopathic doctor and inform them about any existing health conditions or medications you are taking.


Naturopathic medicine offers a holistic, patient-centered approach to healthcare that focuses on supporting the body's innate healing abilities and addressing the root causes of illness. By integrating natural therapies with conventional medical knowledge, naturopathic doctors help patients achieve optimal health and well-being. When seeking naturopathic care, it is essential to choose a qualified practitioner who has completed rigorous training at an accredited institution and is licensed in their state of practice. With the growing recognition of the benefits of integrative medicine, naturopathic doctors are well-positioned to play an increasingly important role in the future of healthcare.