A Naturopathic Physician is a doctor who blends modern scientific medical practice and knowledge with natural and
traditional forms of medical treatment. The practice is sometimes referred to as complementary medicine or
naturopathy. It has a long history, beginning with some of the earliest doctors who used botanical medicine, herbs
and natural treatments.
With increased globalization comes greater awareness of alternative and eastern-style medicine. The established
medical community viewed many naturopathic treatments with suspicion initially, and for a time naturopathic
physicians were seen as dangerous quacks. Laws were even passed preventing their practice in many places. As
modern medicine and scientific knowledge increased, however, physicians began to realize the value and credibility
of the naturopathic approach, and natural medicine has been incorporated into conventional medical practice.
Over the past few decades, naturopathy is again evolving into its own distinct form of medical practice. Although
acceptance is growing, resistance among some members of the traditional medical community still prevails. Evidencebased
research is being conducted in an effort to validate herbal remedies and alternative medicine and enhance the
credibility of naturopathic practices.
The Naturopathic Physician is a primary health care provider of naturopathic medicine. He or she uses complementary
and alternative therapies along with mainstream medical practice, with the goal of treating underlying causes of
disease while stimulating the body's own healing abilities. Natural remedies are generally chosen in favour of
pharmaceuticals; a holistic approach is used and many physicians advocate conventional treatments alongside
naturopathic ones. A naturopathic physician will refer patients to other practitioners if treatment is outside the
naturopathic scope of practice.
The duties of Naturopathic treatment practitioners include meeting with patients, examining patients, performing
tests, following up and monitoring patients, discussing treatment options, designing treatment plans.
Many Naturopathic Physicians are self-employed in private practice and set their own schedules and hours. These
often include evenings and weekends to accommodate patients. Others join private clinics with other health care
practitioners, and spend much of the day examining and treating patients. Completing paperwork and patient
documentation is also part of the work day. Some find employment in research and development, marketing, teaching
Entry Level Education
- Bachelor’s / Master’s of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences (BNYS).
- Diploma in Naturopathy (ND).