Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Licensing Naturopaths?

I just became aware of the ongoing effort to license naturopathic physicians. I was shocked. Aren't these physicians already licensed?

Answer (Published 9/27/2005)

Originally published 6/13/2003

Surprising as it may seem, naturopathic physicians are licensed to practice in only 14 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. In April 2005, Idaho became the most recent state to pass a licensing law. You may also be surprised to know that without licensing, anyone can obtain a "degree" to practice naturopathic medicine through correspondence courses or just hang out a shingle in most states. In the states that do require licensing, naturopathic physicians must be graduates of accredited four-year schools. Legislative efforts are ongoing elsewhere, and we soon may be hearing about licensing laws passing in more states. In Canada, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan license naturopaths.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Your Whole Body - Foods, herbs and drugs can all interact, sometimes in unexpected ways. Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor takes known interactions into account when developing nutritional supplement recommendations, to help safeguard against adverse effects. Learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor recommendation today.

Physician-level NDs are trained not only in natural modalities but in biomedical sciences as well. The first two years of naturopathic medical education are dedicated to the medical sciences and include courses in cadaver anatomy, biochemistry, pathophysiology, and neuroanatomy that are similar in content and length to the courses required for medical doctors. In the second two years of education, students can undertake the study of systems (e.g., cardiology, gynecology, and gastroenterology) and populations (e.g., pediatrics, geriatrics). Throughout their education, NDs are steeped in naturopathic principles and the study and application of natural therapies such as clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, and health counseling.

Having spent most of my professional career working with healthcare providers all over the world, from the conventional, alternative, and complementary professions, I value the critical role that NDs play in the emerging field of integrative medicine. At the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine here at the University of Arizona, NDs are an essential part of our multidisciplinary clinic team. I see many possibilities for MDs and NDs to work collaboratively to meet the needs of their patients.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Related Topics

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here