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Naturopathic medicine uses natural remedies to assist the body in healing itself. Naturopathic practitioners incorporate a variety of therapies, including acupuncture, aromatherapy, color therapy, detoxification, exercise, herbs, massage, nutritional counseling, Reiki, stress management, and yoga.

Proponents of naturopathy often view it as a way of life, as they seek to live their lives in accordance with its principles, viewing it as more than an alternative treatment for disease. They believe that individuals need to be in complete harmony with themselves and with the nature around them in order to live their lives to their full potential. They also believe that prevention is more important than treatment.

The goal of naturopathy is to treat the whole person (mind, body, and spirit), and to target the illness's root causes, not just the symptoms.

Naturopathic physicians are also known as naturopathic doctors (NDs) or as doctors of naturopathic medicine (NMDs). Generally, they will attend an accredited, four-year, graduate-level school, where they study basic sciences, as in a conventional medical school, as well as nutrition, psychology, and complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, herbal medicine, and homeopathy.

Some states and territories require naturopathic doctors to be licensed. ND and NMD doctoral programs include a four-year doctoral program from an accredited naturopathic medical school. The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) lists nine programs in the United States that qualify graduates for licensure.

After completing a four-year program, NDs are required to pass the Naturopathic Physician's Licensing Examination (NPLEX), in which candidates are tested on a variety of topics, including biomedical subjects, diagnostics, treatment modalities, and medical interventions.

Following licensure, NDs are required to follow state guidelines for naturopathy while practicing medicine. Although requirements vary from state to state, they usually include annual continuing education requirements, and, of course, remaining within the state's specific scope of practice.

Traditional naturopaths are practitioners who don't attend an accredited naturopathic medical school or receive a license. Thus, their education varies widely.

Some medical doctors, dentists, doctors of osteopathy, chiropractors, and nurses have been trained in naturopathic medicine, and may incorporate naturopathy into their conventional medical practices.

Currently, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, and Washington regular or license naturopathy, while Florida and Virginia license the practice under a grandfather clause.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia permit naturopathic physicians to prescribe drugs, while eight states and DC permit them to perform minor surgeries.

The practice of naturopathy is prohibited in South Carolina and Tennessee.

In Canada, the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta license naturopathic doctors.

Naturopathy is not regulated in the United Kingdom, although publicly-funded universities in the UK dropped their alternative medicine programs in 2012.

The status of naturopathic medicine in Australia is less certain. The Australian Medical Association has taken the position that some aspects of complementary medicine can be part of patient care by a medical practitioner, but that there is limited evidence supporting it, and, in 2017, the Australian government named naturopathy as a practice that would not qualify for insurance subsidies.

While both naturopathic and holistic medicine focuses on promoting wellness in the mind, body, and soul, they differ in that holistic medicine isn't a separate branch of medicine, but one that uses both conventional and alternative medicine.

Naturopathy may be an option for those who have not found relief from traditional medicine. Many people choose to use both conventional and naturopathic medicine to treat an illness. As an example, a patient may feel that naturopathic medicine helps to ease the side effects of chemotherapy. Of course, those who are undergoing both conventional and naturopathic medicine should advise their medical doctor of any naturopathic treatments they may be taking, and their naturopathic doctor about conventional medications and treatments.



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