The term “naturopathy” was coined in 1892 to describe a rapidly growing system of natural therapeutics that drew from Hippocrates and the traditional and indigenous medicines of the world. Today’s naturopathic doctors blend modern, science-based diagnostic and therapeutic procedures with ancient and traditional methods. Naturopathic physicians follow six fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine:
Wellness follows the establishment and maintenance of optimum health and balance. Wellness is a state of being healthy, characterized by positive emotion, thought and action. Wellness is inherent in everyone, no matter what diseases are being experienced. If wellness is really recognized and experienced by an individual, it will more quickly heal a given disease than direct treatment of the disease alone. (This principle was adopted by Bastyr University and added to the six principles.)
All states and provinces with laws regulating the practice of naturopathic medicine require a resident course of at least four years and 4,100 hours of doctoral-level study from a college or university recognized by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). To qualify for a license, the applicant must satisfactorily pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX), which includes basic sciences, diagnostic and therapeutic subjects and clinical sciences.
Applicants must satisfy all licensing requirements for the state or province to which they have applied. Please consult the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) website for current U.S. licensure information.
Naturopathic doctors are licensed or registered as health care providers in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Legal provisions allow the practice of naturopathic medicine in several other states. Naturopathic doctors are also recognized in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. Efforts to gain licensure elsewhere are currently underway.
Additionally, professional associations exist in 42 states and 11 provinces.