What's a Naturopath

As the popularity of natural medicine increases, it may be time to review what is a Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.) and what naturopathic medicine consists of.

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary care provided by a licensed naturopathic doctor. It consists of diagnostics, treatments, and prevention of diseases and disorders with natural methods and materials. Naturopathic doctors use healing modalities such as, but not limited to, clinical nutrition, physical medicine, botanical or herbal medicines, homeopathy, biofeedback, and life structure counseling and modifications.

Did you know that in the State of Washington naturopathic doctors are state licensed and must complete board examinations, both national and state. They must have also completed a minimum four year intensive program at one of four naturopathic medical schools approved by the Secretary of the Department of Health. They are tested on their knowledge of sciences such as anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, diagnoses, nutrition, and physical medicine just to name a few.
You may be wondering what type of schooling a naturopathic doctor receives. All four of the medical schools recognized by the State Department of Health require that the student have a Bachelor’s Degree with a strong preparation in science before beginning a four to six year intensive program. For example at Bastyr, one of the medical schools recognized, a student graduating from their four year program will have earned an astounding 4,342 credits by the time of completion. A person attending a four-year graduate-level naturopathic program is educated in the same basic sciences as if they had attended a conventional medical school and must perform a minimum of 1200 clinical hours under the supervision of a licensed naturopathic doctor before they can begin to obtain a license as a naturopathic doctor.

Do insurance companies also acknowledge Naturopathic Doctors- Yes! Washington State is one of the leading states in covering Naturopathic Doctors. Many insurances will even allow a Naturopathic Doctor to be your primary physician and cover office visit’s the same way they do a traditional medical office visit. However, at this time no insurance company will cover supplementations that may be prescribed to you by your Naturopathic Doctor, although at some point in the future this could change.
If you have any other questions please contact your local Naturopathic Doctor or visit- www.naturopathic.org

Article by:
Randy Sandaine, N.D.
Colville Naturopathic Clinic
234 N. Oak Colville, WA 99114