Huffington Post Blog - September 2013

by Amy Rothenberg, ND

On Sept. 10, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed resolution (S. RES. 221) designating Oct. 7 - Oct. 13 Naturopathic Medicine Week. The resolution recognizes the value of naturopathic medicine in providing safe, effective, and affordable health care and encourages Americans to learn about the role of naturopathic physicians in preventing chronic and debilitating conditions.

According to Jud Richland, the American Association of Naturopathic Physician's CEO:

Passage of this resolution is an historic achievement for naturopathic medicine. The Congress has now officially recognized the important role naturopathic medicine plays in effectively addressing the nation's health care needs as well as in addressing the increasingly severe shortage of primary care physicians.

For those not yet familiar with the profession, naturopathic physicians attend four-year, in-residence, full-time post-graduate naturopathic medical schools, which are recognized by the Federal Department of Education and by local educational, credentialing bodies. There are currently seven naturopathic medical schools in North America. To read more about these schools and the standard education, see: The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Schools.

To find a naturopathic physician, see the website for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians: .

Naturopathic physicians are trained to take a full history and perform physical exams; NDs use laboratory and diagnostic imaging to help arrive at accurate diagnoses. Instead of focusing on pharmaceuticals and surgery, NDs work with natural medicine approaches including therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, lifestyle modification and physical medicine to stimulate patients' innate healing capacity. NDs are trained to look at the whole patient, to understand the full impact of various stressors on physical, mental and emotional health.

NDs both refer to and accept referrals from other health care providers for both diagnostic and treatment support. Some NDs work in solo practices, others in groups, yet others in integrative medical care settings with MDs, DOs, DCs and allied health care providers. In states where NDs are licensed, some accept insurance reimbursements. There are 17 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands that currently license NDs to practice naturopathic medicine. Many others states are currently in legislative efforts. In some states such, naturopathic physicians practice as primary care providers; in others, NDs work in more adjunctive ways.

Naturopathic practitioners are doctor level expert providers of natural medicine and increasingly are receiving deserved recognition as such. Naturopathic doctors also work in international medicine, public health, in medical research and as writers and teachers in the field. For further information, see