Naturopathic medicine is based on the theory, science and understanding that the body has an inherent ability to heal itself. Naturopathic physicians fuse the intelligence of nature with modern medical science to discover the root cause of disease and to stimulate the body's natural-inborn healing processes. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are knowledgeable through their training to discover the unique chemistry each individual needs to assist in this process. Diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, supplements botanical medicine, and other cutting-edge therapies are just a few the devices NDs utilize. Naturopathic doctors have the ability to prescribe pharmaceutical drugs when necessary. NDs are trained to treat the whole person, not just the symptoms or the disease, because they view the human body as a complete complex system. NDs have the education along with the qualifications to perform minor surgeries, , order laboratory testing and imaging studies to aid in their diagnosing.
Naturopathic doctors are educated at four-year postgraduate naturophathic medical schools as primary care physicians. Naturopathic doctors gain extensive training through their required clinical internships in hospitals and private clinics before they can pass a state board exam to acquire their license.
Naturopathic doctors are licensed or registered as health care providers in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Legal provisions allow the practice of naturopathic medicine in several other states. Naturopathic doctors are also recognized in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.
Efforts to gain licensure elsewhere are currently under way. Forty-two states and territories in the United States have professional associations for naturopathic medicine. Canada has 11 provincial and territorial professional associations.