What is Naturopathic Medicine?
In Washington, DC, naturopathic physicians are licensed healthcare providers who diagnose disease according to conventional means, but treat using primarily diet, lifestyle changes, supplements, herbs, homeopathy, and other natural therapies. Naturopathic physicians are also licensed to use a limited number of pharmaceutical drugs in situations that urgently require them.
Naturopathic physicians attend accredited four-year naturopathic medical programs. In accredited programs, students learn the basic medical sciences (e.g. anatomy, biochemistry), as well as clinical sciences (e.g. cardiology, gastroenterology) and courses in natural therapeutics (e.g. herbal medicine, homeopathy, diet, exercise, manipulation). While in school, students also take part in clinical rotations, where they learn to diagnose and treat patients under the supervision of attending physicians. Additionally, licensed naturopathic physicians must have passed two sets of national board exams – basic sciences and clinical sciences.