Naturopathic Physicians (N.D.s) are general health care practitioners. They are trained to be the doctor first seen by the patient for general health care, for advice on keeping healthy, and for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic conditions. They also serve those whose treatment by conventional means has not met their needs and who seek naturopathic care as an alternative.

The current scope of naturopathic practice includes, but not limited to:

Naturopathic practice excludes the use of most synthetic drugs and major surgery.

Naturopathic physicians are well trained in all modern methods of diagnostic testing and imaging including X-ray, ultrasound, and other imaging techniques.

The majority of Naturopathic Physicians are in general, private practice. Some N.D.'s, however, choose to emphasize particular treatment modalities (see above), or may concentrate on particular medical fields (pediatrics, gynecology, allergies, arthritis, etc.).

The N.D. course of study is an intensive four-year graduate program including approximately 4,500 hours of academic and clinical training. The program leads to licensure as a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D.).

Consumers beware of the terminology. "Naturopathy" has in the recent past been used as a generic and vernacular term to describe an individual who utilizes non-drug and "natural" therapies in working with customers. For example, in the State of California, anyone can call him/herself a naturopath, but naturopathic doctors have to be licensed. An unlicensable naturopath has NOT graduated from four-year, doctoral-level, accredited naturopathic medical education programs, and therefore is NOT trained or licensed to diagnosis and treat. The terms "naturopath", "naturopathic physician" and "naturopathic doctor" are protected titles in many states. Unfortunately, the term "naturopath" is often utilized in unlicensed states as an equivalent to naturopathic doctor and is heavily utilized by graduates of diploma mills. Always check your practitioner's credentials.

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