There are many people who simply don’t like the idea of being treated with conventional medicines. They don’t want to ingest chemical substances and prefer to overcome any issues they have with natural or herbal remedies.
These people would visit naturopathic doctors such as those who work at KIYA Longevity, providers of a holistic approach to healthcare. Naturopathic doctors provide preventative care and use a combination of herbal remedies, therapies such as massage and acupuncture, as well as diet and lifestyle changes. Naturopaths implement a whole-person approach to treatment that addresses the mind, body, and spirit.
If this sounds interesting, then you may be wondering what kind of schooling naturopathic doctors require, or what the difference is in training between a traditional doctor and a naturopath.
Training to Become a Naturopathic Doctor
Before entering a naturopathic medical program, students must first complete a bachelor’s or undergraduate degree, which will typically take four years.
A naturopathic medical program takes another four years to complete. The program includes education in basic, clinical, and medical science in the same way that an MD program does. However, those wishing to become naturopaths must also learn about holistic medicine and nontoxic methods of treatment.
The naturopathic medical program focuses strongly on preventing disease and illness and promoting health and wellbeing. Students will learn about psychology, counseling, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, and homeopathic medicine.
Once students have completed four years in a naturopathic medical program, they must pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX) to gain a state license to practice naturopathic medicine.
Where do Naturopathic Doctors Work?
Naturopathic doctors often have their own practice, but they could work in a group practice as an associate. They can also be found in non-emergency facilities, providing outpatient care. They may work alongside other medical providers including MDs, DCs, and DOs co-managing a patient’s care plan.
What Do Naturopathic Doctors Do?
Naturopathic doctors prefer to get to the root of a person’s problems rather than simply treating the symptoms. They will provide in-depth consultations where they will ask many questions about an individual’s medical history, family history, diet, and lifestyle.
As the aim is to provide preventative care primarily, naturopathic doctors tend to focus on education. A healthcare plan from a naturopath might include a specific diet, exercise plan, and information about managing stress. Complementary treatments might also be recommended which could include things like massage, acupuncture, osteopathy, and homeopathy. Sometimes, herbal medicine is used.
What Condition do Naturopathic Doctors Treat?
Naturopathic doctors often treat chronic disease and illness, but they can also treat acute illness. Below are a few of the conditions commonly treated by naturopathic doctors:
- Chronic pain
- Women’s health
- Hormonal imbalances
- Fertility problems
- Digestive issues.
How Much Do Naturopathic Doctors Earn?
The average salary of a naturopathic doctor in 2020, according to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC), was $95,642. However, the amount earned is dependent on location, experience and whether a naturopathic doctor has their own private practice.
Since naturopathy is classed as ‘alternative’ medicine, it is often not covered under insurance plans, which can affect how much a naturopathic doctor can earn. In states where there are no regulations or licensing requirements for naturopathic services, there is unlikely to be insurance cover.
Becoming a naturopathic doctor will mean achieving an undergraduate degree before attending naturopathic medical school. This will mean eight years of study, after which the state examination needs to be passed. Upon qualifying, you can start your own practice or look for work in an outpatient department of a medical facility.