About Naturopathic Medicine



Does the following situation sound familiar?

Does the following situation sound familiar? You were just diagnosed with something, or maybe it is something you have been struggling with for a while. This could be anything from a cold, to food allergies, to diabetes and anything in between. You wonder, is there a natural way to treat this? So, you ask Dr. Google, or your family members or your friends on social media. The next thing you know, you have mountains of information and much of it is contradictory. One source told you to definitely take ginger, while another says to 100% avoid ginger. With all this confusing information, your either give up because it is all too overwhelming to sort through, or you spend a fortune on various supplements, herbs, food and other remedies in hopes that something will help.

Well, good news! You no longer have to guess. You now have a natural health expert on your team… Us! This is exactly what naturopathic doctors do. Not only do we know if there is a natural treatment option for you, but we also know if it is safe, if it is effective and if it is right your individual situation. We can save you a whole lot of time, effort, money and the headache of potential unwanted side effects (yes, natural medicine can also have side effects).

Like conventional doctors you have seen, naturopathic doctors also perform physical exams, run laboratory tests and diagnose illnesses. Unlike conventional doctors, naturopathic doctors spend a lot more time with you in your visit listening to your health history and getting to know you. By doing this, we can offer you an individualized treatment plan that will work for you and your lifestyle. After all, the best treatment plan is the one that can be implemented.

Some modalities used in naturopathic medicine

  • bowl of spinach, asparagus, avocado and salmon for naturopathic medicine nutrition
    Gentle Nutrition

    Food is foundational to health and healing. At Terrain Integrative Medicine, we combine intuitive eating along with gentle nutrition to create a completely individualized treatment plan.

  • Towel sitting besides a hot tub for naturopathic medicine hydrotherapy

    Water can be a gentle yet powerful healer. The use of water to heal a variety of ailments has been used for thousands of years and was adopted by naturopathic medicine as a common modality. 

  • Bottle of homeopathy pellets in front of materia medica

    Homeopathy is a gentle and effective medicine that can be used for almost any physical, mental or emotional ailment. It is inherently a holistic medicine and takes the whole person into consideration. You can learn more here.

  • Herbal medicine in different dishes on a table
    Herbal Medicine

    Plants are have been used for thousands of years to effectively treat a variety of illnesses. Today, it used in naturopathic medicine to help regulate hormones, ease stress, fight infections and more.

  • Naturopathic medicine supplement capsules in a dish on a table
    Nutrient Therapy

    When appropriate, naturopathic doctors use nutrients and other natural supplements to address deficiencies and support the body's innate healing abilities. 




Naturopathic doctors use the lowest force intervention appropriate, at the lowest effect dose, for the shortest time possible. This minimizes the risk of harmful side effects from treatment. 


Naturopathic doctors strive to find and treat the underlying causes of disease rather than just treating symptoms. They recognize that symptoms are the body's way of pointing to the underlying causes.


Our bodies have an innate healing ability and naturopathic doctors focus on supporting this ability. This is done by removing obstacles inhibiting healing and recommending treatments that support healing.


Prevention is the best medicine. Naturopathic doctors assess risk factors and recommend treatments that focus on the prevention or progression of disease and prevention of complications from disease.


Knowledge is power. Natuopathic doctors strive to educate their clients in order to empower and inspire them. They can help guide their clients in making informed decisions about their healthcare. 


Treating the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of clients is essential for holistic healing. Naturopathic doctors also consider a person's relationships and place in the community. 


Registered naturopathic doctors attend one of seven accredited naturopathic medical schools. Each program is four years, which consists of two years of basic science education (biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, naturopathic philosophy, etc.) and two years of clinical science, which includes both classes (pharmacology, cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, etc.) and clinical rotations where naturopathic medical students see patients under the supervision of registered naturopathic doctors.

The first two years of naturopathic medical school is very similar to conventional medical school, but with the addition of classes, such as hydrotherapy, physical medicine, herbal medicine and homeopathy, which focus on specific natural medicinal treatments. Naturopathic medical students also take classes in counseling and nutrition, which conventional medical students do not generally have training in.

A majority of the last two years of naturopathic medical school is spent seeing patients in an out-patient, primary care setting. This differs from convention medical school where students spend these years doing different rotations in a hospital setting. Conventional medicine requires students to complete a residency after graduation. At this time, naturopathic doctors are not required to complete a residency, yet some do.

Naturopathic medical students take a two-step licensing exam called the NPLEX I and NPLEX II. To learn more about naturopathic medicine visit the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians' (AANP) website.

Graph comparing total hours of training for naturopathic doctors vs medical doctors
Sources: MD program information: LCME Annual Medical School Questionnaire Part II; 130 schools provided data for 2013-14; no data shown for 2014-15 or 2015-16; AANMC Member Survey 2017;  http://admissions.nunm.edu/files/2013/10/2016-17-ND-Curriculum.pdf; http://www.bridgeport.edu/academics/ graduate/naturopathic-medicine-nd/curriculum-and-program-requirements/; http://www.scnm.edu/media/3591/4-year-pos-correct.pdf.graduate/naturopathic-medicine-nd/curriculum-and-program-requirements/; http://www.scnm.edu/media/3591/4-year-pos-correct.pdf.

Naturopathic doctors and medical doctors receive approximately the same number of training hours. In addition to extensive training in natural medicinal treatments, naturopathic doctors also receive significantly more training in counseling (approx. 140 hours) and nutrition (approx. 135 hours).