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What is naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a branch of health care which includes both traditional healing methods and modern holistic methods which are based on sound scientific and empirical knowledge. It emphasizes the use of therapeutic and preventive techniques as a treatment program to promote self-healing and overall well-being.

What can naturopaths do?
  • Be Your primary care (hyperlink to primary care provider)
  • Physical exams
  • Order labs, MRIs, and X-rays
  • Fill prescriptions
  • Diagnose and treat illness and injury

Each provider has specific areas that they specialize in, for more information see the provider bio pages.

Is naturopathy the same thing as homeopathy?

Naturopathic physicians are licensed as primary care physicians (or GPs) in the State of Washington. Not all chose to practice as primary care doctors. There is a large variety in the way NDs practice, pretty similar to that of the specialties in medical doctors. NDs are often seen as having a “bag of tricks” and trained in a variety of modalities as well as the standard pharmaceuticals and surgical/procedures as those of MDs. These “tricks” include the intensive study and often the practice of nutrition, herbal medicine, physical medicine and homeopathy.

Homeopathy is a specific tool based on the law of similars, the principle of the single remedy and the principle of minimum dose. So a primary care Naturopathic physician might prescribe a homeopathic remedy, and there are also Naturopaths that specialize in and only practice homeopathy.

In what ways are ND’s different from MD’s?

A licensed naturopathic physician (N.D.) attends a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school after completing undergraduate pre-medical studies. A naturopathic physician is educated in all of the same basic sciences as a traditional allopathic medical doctor but also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician is required to complete four years of training in clinical nutrition, pharmacology, oriental medicine and acupuncture, physical medicine, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and counseling. A naturopathic physician takes rigorous professional board exams prior to being licensed in a jurisdiction that regulates the practice of naturopathic medicine. A licensed N.D. belongs to a regulatory body that oversees standards of practice, complaints and discipline. Naturopathic physicians can have NPI’s (national provider identifications, DEA numbers- (which enable authorizations of higher level prescriptions), hospital privileges and accept health insurance. Naturopathic physicians must carry malpractice insurance; maintain continuing education and practice ethically with a high degree of professionalism.

A naturopath is a term that has been used by the general public and other medical professions to sometimes inaccurately refer to what more accurately is a naturopathic physician. The term naturopath nevertheless, has been around for over 100 years. In reality, the words naturopathic physician and naturopath have often been used interchangeably.

In modern times, the term naturopath has been more accurately applied to non-medically trained natural health providers from correspondence/long distance education programs (like Clayton College). These naturopaths graduate from unaccredited schools with an un-accredited PhD in as little as 6 months. Typically, naturopaths practice in unlicensed, unregulated jurisdictions and do not have the same training or privileges as that of a naturopathic physician.
There has been a long history of legal and philosophical disagreements between naturopathic physicians and naturopaths. Unfortunately, the public has generally not been aware of the differences between the two groups, even though large differences exist.

In Canada, only naturopathic physicians are licensed, regulated and able to practice legally in the provinces that acknowledge naturopathic medicine. In the United States, it is up to individual states to grant licensure to naturopathic physicians. Maryland and Virginia currently do not license naturopathic physicians and thus the public is not as protected as it could be from misrepresentation. The District of Columbia has a registration process for naturopathic physicians and is in the midst of organizing a governing board.

When searching for a qualified expert in natural medicine, be sure to ask for credentials and a current license to practice. To learn more you can examine the AANMC’s professional competency profile and provided below is a list of AANMC’s accredited naturopathic medical schools.

Professional Competency Profile

AANMC Member Schools
Bastyr University
Bastyr University – California Campus
National College of Natural Medicine
National University of Health Sciences
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
University of Bridgeport – College of Naturopathic Medicine
Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine

Can naturopathic doctors order labs?

Yes, Naturopathic Physicians can order labs through all standard labs like Labcorp/Dynacare, Paclab, Quest and can call imaging studies such as CT’s, MRI’s Xray and ultrasounds in hospitals and imaging centers. It is also very common for ND’s to use “alternative” labs not standardly used in major hospital systems.

Will naturopathic doctors work with other doctors to manage care?

Absolutely, at Village medicine we pride ourselves on collaboration. Part of working as your advocate requires us being in communication with all of your providers to integrate care when appropriate.

Can I use naturopathic medicine if I am taking pharmaceutical medications?

Yes, part of Naturopathic Medicine involves using pharmaceutical medicine when appropriate. Naturopathic and Integrative providers are well versed in safeguarding all medications for interactions with nutraceuticals, herbs and various modalities.

Can a ARNP work with me on sleep and sleep medication?

Yes, ARNPs have prescribing privileges in the states of Washington. All medications that are controlled need an in office visit.

What do I do if I need a prescription refill?
  • Generally, if you need a new prescription it is time for an appointment. Our provider try to coordinate when they would like to see you again with how many refills they give you.
  • Visit the "My Medications" section of your portal to send us a request. Or, call your pharmacy and they will contact us. These methods are more efficient than calling the clinic.


  • Controlled substances are the exception. You must schedule an appointment to receive a controlled medication. These include some anxiety medications (anything in the benzodiazepine class, i.e. Xanax, Ativan, and most meds that end with -pam), ADHD medication, and most sleep medications.
Are supplements and nutraceuticals covered by insurance?

Sometimes but all insurances are different. We are happy to provide you with a letter of medical necessity to provide to your insurance.

Do the tests you offer take insurance?

Test run through traditional laboratories like Labcorp will be run through your insurance. Depending on your benefits all or a portion of those will be covered by your specific insurance. Tests from these labs fluctuate in price and it is almost impossible to know ahead of time what will or will not be covered and to what extent. Many of the specialty labs are pre-priced a flat rate, no matter what your insurance covers. You will be made aware of this price before you take the test.

Can I still keep my regular doctor and be a patient at your clinic?

Yes, we are more than happy to collaborate with all of your care providers because we, at Village Medicine, believe “it takes a village”.

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