Naturopathic Medicine

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Founded upon a holistic philosophy, naturopathic medicine combines safe and effective traditional therapies with the most current advances in modern medicine. Naturopathic medicine is appropriate for the management of a broad range of health conditions affecting all people of all ages.

Naturopathic physicians (N.D.s) are the highest trained practitioners in the broadest scope of naturopathic medical modalities. In addition to the basic medical sciences and conventional diagnostics, naturopathic education includes therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, natural childbirth, classical Chinese medicine, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulative therapy, pharmacology and minor surgery.


Naturopathic physicians are primary care and specialty doctors who address the underlying cause of disease through effective, individualized natural therapies that integrate the healing powers of body, mind and spirit.
Naturopathic physicians are unique in providing diagnosis and treatment that bridges both conventional and natural medicine perspectives; they integrate scientific research with the healing powers of nature.

The goal of a naturopathic physician is to employ therapies that support and promote the body’s natural healing process, leading to the highest state of wellness.

As professional leaders and pioneers in science-based natural medicine, naturopathic physicians advocate the development of professional standards, accountability, and regulation of all forms of medicine in all jurisdictions to maintain public safety and freedom of choice in health care. Further, we support broad inclusion, collaboration and equal access in the health care system at all levels.

The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, in Washington, DC, is the national organization of the profession.


The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)
The healing power of nature is the inherent self-organizing and healing process of living systems which establishes, maintains and restores health. Naturopathic medicine recognizes this healing process to be ordered and intelligent. It is the naturopathic physician’s role to support, facilitate and augment this process by identifying and removing obstacles to health and recovery, and by supporting the creation of a healthy internal and external environment.

Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam)
Illness does not occur without cause. Causes may originate in many areas. Underlying causes of illness and disease must be identified and removed before complete recovery can occur. Symptoms can be expressions of the body’s attempt to defend itself, to adapt and recover, to heal itself, or may be results of the causes of disease. The naturopathic physician seeks to treat the causes of disease, rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.

First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)
Naturopathic physicians follow three precepts to avoid harming the patient: Naturopathic physicians utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful effects, and apply the least possible force or intervention necessary to diagnose illness and restore health. Whenever possible the suppression of symptoms is avoided as suppression generally interferes with the healing process. Naturopathic physicians respect and work with the vis medicatrix naturae in diagnosis, treatment and counseling, for if this self-healing process is not respected the patient may be harmed.

Doctor As Teacher (Docere)
The original meaning of the word doctor is teacher. A principal objective of naturopathic medicine is to educate the patient and emphasize self-responsibility for health. Naturopathic physicians also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.

Treat the Whole Person
Health and disease result from a complex of physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development. Naturopathic medicine recognizes the harmonious functioning of all aspects of the individual as being essential to health. The multifactorial nature of health and disease requires a personalized and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment. Naturopathic physicians treat the whole person taking all of these factors into account.

Naturopathic medical colleges emphasize the study of health as well as disease. The prevention of disease and the attainment of optimal health in patients are primary objectives of naturopathic medicine. In practice, these objectives are accomplished through education and the promotion of healthy ways of living. Naturopathic physicians assess risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and make appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness. Naturopathic medicine asserts that one cannot be healthy in an unhealthy environment and is committed to the creation of a world in which humanity may thrive.

About the AANP

Vision: A Healthy World Through Healthy People
Founded in 1985, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) is the national professional society representing naturopathic physicians who are licensed or eligible for licensing as primary care providers. Policy is established through a House of Delegates, which consists of representatives from 34 state naturopathic associations, four naturopathic specialty societies and the four recognized naturopathic medical programs.

AANP membership has grown to over 1800 members including students, supporting and corporate members, as well as approximately 40% of the estimated 1500 eligible Naturopathic Physicians practicing nationwide. Nearly 80% of today’s naturopathic physicians entered practice during the modern rebirth of naturopathic medicine, which commenced in the early 1970s and parallels the broader public interest in natural health care.

Promoting development of nationally standardized licensing exam (NPLEX)
Development of an annual national convention
Assisting in achieving US Department of Education recognition of the accrediting agency for naturopathic education (CNME)
Publication of the quarterly newsletter, The Naturopathic Physician
Recognition of research needs of the profession
Development of Standards of Practice
Completion of major demographic survey
Unprecedented media exposure on national television
Proposal of policy recommendations to the White House Commission on CAM policy

Increase the visibility and understanding of naturopathic medicine among the general public.
Increase the numbers of quality naturopathic physicians to serve the public through:
continued recruitment for the colleges, expansion of the educational system, and maintaining the CNME recognition by the DoE; as well as maintaining federal recognition of our colleges.
Increase the number of jurisdictions that license naturopathic physicians.
Clearly identify naturopathic medicine and its standards for the profession and in the national consciousness.
Full integration in to the national health care system.
Promote the successful practice of naturopathic physicians.
Increase the representation of the profession in the AANP.
Demonstrate the efficacy of naturopathic medicine by continuing research, setting strategic goals and develop a socio-political model of integrated and effective naturopathic health care.


A Licensed naturopathic physician (N.D.) attends a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school and is educated in all of the same basic sciences as an M.D. but also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician is required to complete four years of training in clinical nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and counseling (to encourage people to make lifestyle changes in support of their personal health). A naturopathic physician takes rigorous professional board exams so that he or she may be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care general practice physician. Additional information on naturopathic schools can be found at

Accredited Schools

The accrediting agency for naturopathic medical schools and programs in North America is the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). The CNME issues a bulletin twice a year giving the accrediting status of each of the institutions it is engaged with. At this time, there are four accredited institutions:

Bastyr University
President: Daniel K. Church, PhD
14500 Juanita Drive, NE
Kenmore, WA 98028
Phone: (425) 823-1300
Fax: (425) 823-6222
Accredited by the CNME

Bastyr Center for Natural Health
1307 N. 45th St
Seattle, WA 98103
Phone: (206) 834-4100
Fax: (206) 834-4107
Associated with Bastyr University

Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
President: Patricia Wolfe, ND
200-668 Carnarvon Street
New Westminster, BC V3M 5Y6
Phone: (604) 777-9981
Fax: (604) 777-9982 fax
Granted candidacy status from the CNME in December 2003

Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
Acting President & CEO: Bob Bernhardt, M.Ed., B.Sc, LLM, EdD (cand.)
1255 Sheppard Avenue E,
Toronto, Ontario, M2K 1E2
Phone: (416) 498-1255
Fax: (416) 498-1576
Toll Free: (866) 241-2266
Accredited by the CNME

National College of Naturopathic Medicine
President: William (Bill) J. Keppler, PhD
049 SW Porter Street
Portland, OR 97201Phone: (503) 552-1555
Accredited by the CNME

Natural Health Center Clinic
2220 SW 1st Avenue, Portland, OR 97201
Phone: (503) 552-1551
Associated with National College of Naturopathic Medicine

Classical Chinese Medicine Clinic
2232 NW Pettygrove
Portland, OR 97210
Phone: (503)552-1552
Associated with National College of Naturopathic Medicine

Southwest College of Naturopathic Physicians
President: Paul Mittman, ND, DHANP
2140 East Broadway
Tempe, AZ 85282
Phone: (480) 858-9100
Accredited by the CNME

University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine
President: Dr. Neil A. Salonen
60 Lafayette Street,
Bridgeport, CT 06601
Phone: (203) 576-4109
Granted candidacy status from the CNME in March 2001

For further information on accreditation, please contact the CNME

Council on Naturopathic Medical Education
President: Don Warren, ND
Executive Director: Daniel Seitz
PO Box 323
Johnson, VT 05656
Phone: 802-635-7090
Fax: 802-635-7492

Licensed States

Currently, 14 states, the District of Columbia, and the US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have licensing laws for naturopathic doctors. In these states, naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from a four-year, residential naturopathic medical school and pass and extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license.
Licensed naturopathic physicians must fulfill state-mandated continuing education requirements annually, and will have a specific scope of practice defined by their state’s law.

The states that currently have licensing laws for naturopathic physicians are:

District of Columbia
New Hampshire
US Territories: Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands

Licensing Authorities

Federation of Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Authorities
President: Craig Runbeck, NMD
Treasurer: KE Edmisten, ND, LAc
Federation Contact Information
344 SW 7th St Suite B
Newport, OR 97365-4915
Phone & Fax: 541-265-6378

Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination Board (NPLEX)
(416) 498-4255×227 (503) 250-9141
President: Paul Sanders, PhD, ND
P.O. Box 69657
Portland, OR 97201
Executive Director: Christa Louise, MS, PhD

North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE)
(360) 459-9082
President: Robin Moore, ND
8948 SW Barbur Boulevard #157
Portland, OR 97219-4047
(503) 778-7990
Executive Director: Christa Louise, MS, PhD

Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development
Division of Occupational Licensing Naturopathic Section
P.O. Box 110806
Juneau, AK 99811-0806
(907) 465-2695

Arizona Naturopathic Board of Medical Examiners
1400 W. Washington Ave, #230
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 542-8242
Executive Director: Craig Runbeck

Connecticut Board of Naturopathic Examiners
410 Capitol Avenue, MS#12APP
P.O. Box 340308
Hartford, CT 06134-0308
(860) 509-7562
Contact: Latarsha Starling
Connecticut Department of Public Health

Hawaii Board of Examiners in Naturopathy
P.O. Box 3469
Honolulu, HI 96801
(808) 586-2704
Executive Officer: Candace Ito

Maine Board of Complementary Health Care Providers
35 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
(207) 624-8579
Linda Harris

Montana Alternative Health Care Board
301 S. Park
Helena, MT 59620-0573
(406) 841-2394
Cheryl Brandt

State of New Hampshire Department of Health and Human
Board of Naturopathic Examiners
129 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-5127
Contact: Christine Topham

Oregon Board of Naturopathic Examiners
Executive Director: Anne Walsh
800 NE Oregon Street, Suite 407
Portland, OR 97232

Federation Rep: KE Edmisten, ND, LAc
Phone & Fax: 541-265-6378

Junta Examiadora de Doctores en Naturopathia Oficina
de Regiamentacion y Certification Para Profesionales de La Salud
Call Box 10200
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00909-0200
Secretary: Myrian Plaza

Vermont Office of the Secretary of State
Office of Professional Regulation Naturopathic Physicians Advisors
26 Terrace Street, Drawer 9
Montpelier, VT 05609
(802) 828-2191
Contact: Nancy A. Morin

Washington State Department of Health Naturopathy Program
Mailing Address: PO Box 47869, Olympia WA 98504-7869
Physical Address: 310 Israel Rd SE, Tumwater WA 98501
Program Manager: Holly Rawnsley
Telephone: (360) 236-4941
FAX: (360) 236-2406

Canadian Provincial Licensing Boards
The College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia (CNPBC)
2238 Pine Street
Vancouver, BC, V6J 5V4
(604) 688-8236

Saskatchewan Association of Naturopathic Practitioners
Box 1836 Unity
SK, S0K 4L0
(306) 228-2512
(306) 228-4433

Manitoba Naturopathic Association
161 Stafford Street, #2
Winnipeg, MB, R3M 2W9
(204) 947-0381
(204) 452-7044

Ontario Board of Directors, Drugless Therapy/Naturopathy (BDDTN)
112 Adelaide Street East
Toronto, ON M5C 1K9
(416) 866-8383
(416) 866-2175