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For Healthcare Professionals

Why refer to an ND

Naturopathic physicians are experts in natural medicine. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), approximately 38 percent of adults and approximately 12 percent of children are using some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM describes a wide range of therapies not typically part of conventional medical training such as: diet based therapies, physical medicine, herbal medicine, and mind-body therapies. Patients looking for individualized recommendations on alternative therapies, such as those listed above, should be encouraged to seek the care of a naturopathic physician.

Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (NCCIM).

Training in drug- herb-nutrient interactions

A 2006 survey reported that 63% of Americans age 50 or older reported using one or more complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) techniques. Yet 69% of the CAM users said that they had not talked to their doctors about it. The reason cited by 42% of patients in the survey? Most doctors never asked.1

Naturopathic physicians also have expertise in drug/herb/nutrient interactions. Naturopathic physicians work in private practice or in integrated settings with other medical providers.  The result is a patient-centered, comprehensive approach that provides the most appropriate treatment for an individual’s needs. Naturopathic physicians educate patients about wellness and provide tools for achieving optimal health.

1Source: American College of Physicians (ACP).

Specialists in treating chronic disease with a focus on prevention

Naturopathic physicians are experts in treatment of chronic diseases, guiding patients through lifestyle changes and natural therapies to manage chronic conditions and prevent complications. Since NDs are experts in lifestyle medicine, they can help any patient prevent chronic health conditions as well. 

What to expect: patients

In general a visit to a naturopathic doctor, or N.D., will be similar to a visit to your family doctor. Your first visit may take more than one hour. The doctor will take a very thorough history, asking about your family history,  diet, lifestyle, stress, and environmental exposures. Next, the N.D. will do a physical examination (in states that permit physical exam) and may request laboratory tests (in states that permit lab diagnosis). In addition to conventional tests, N.D.s may use unique functional laboratory tests.

Naturopathic doctors treat the whole person, which means they consider a variety of factors that include diet and lifestyle, family history, environment, mental and emotional health.  

Source: Naturopathy | University of Maryland Medical Center

What to expect: providers

Naturopathic physicians are trained to refer to specialists and emergency care as appropriate and recognize limitations to their care. NDs believe in a patient-centric model of healthcare that is integrative and collaborative.  

Peer reviewed research journals specific to the practice of naturopathic medicine include:
  • The Natural Medicine Journal (NMJ) is the official journal of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Natural Medicine Journal is a cutting-edge electronic journal and website for integrative healthcare practitioners, students, faculty, and anyone interested in the field of natural medicine.
  • Naturopathic Doctor News and Review (NDNR) is the leading clinical information resource for naturopathic physicians in North America.