A naturopath practices a form of alternative medicine that is grounded in the belief in the body's vitality and innate ability to heal and maintain itself. Focusing on natural remedies, naturopathic physicians favour a holistic approach that uses a minimal amount of surgery, drugs, and other modern medical treatments.
Job Description: A Day in the Life of a Naturopath
Most naturopaths see patients in a private practice and work fairly regular hours. Like a general physician or family doctor, the daily job of a naturopath involves examining, diagnosing, and treating patients. The primary difference is in the means of treatment practiced by naturopaths. A naturopath may suggest treatments such as acupuncture or herbal remedies, and also may make dietary and lifestyle suggestions in the interest of the patient's general well being.
General Requirements and Training
The level of education among naturopaths varies immensely. In most cases, at least an undergraduate degree is required. Some naturopaths receive the title of naturopathic doctor (NO) after completing a four-year program at an accredited naturopathic medical school. Naturopathic programs generally entail four years of the study. The first two years focus on basic health sciences knowledge, covering topics such as anatomy and physiology, while the final two years focus on a specialized study of natural medicine, including courses in botany, nutrition and homeopathy.
The highest level of training a naturopath can receive is to attend regular medical school, receiving an MD or DO, and then choosing to specialize in a naturopathic approach.
The qualifications required to practice as a certified naturopath vary from one state to the next. While some areas require certification, in other unregulated areas an individual may practice with the title of naturopathic doctor regardless of any official certifications or level of education.
Salary, Benefits, and Opportunities for Advancement
The practice of naturopathy is sometimes viewed with scepticism in the medical community, however a significant amount of Americans have turned to naturopathic physicians in the past, especially when modern medical techniques fail to work.