What is naturopathic medicine? Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care - an art, science, philosophy and practice of diagnosing, treating and preventing disease. Naturopathic medicine's techniques include modern, traditional, scientific and empirical methods. Six principles of healing form the foundation for naturopathic medical practice. Naturopathic physicians are general practitioners who have been licensed in British Columbia since 1937. They use a variety of therapies in the prevention and treatment of disease, including herbal medicine, clinical nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathy, bodywork, and lifestyle counseling.
What type of training does a naturopathic physician receive? Naturopathic physicians must complete an intensive four year graduate program from one of the five accredited naturopathic medical schools in North America. During the first two years students undertake coursework similar to an allopathic (MD) student, focusing on modern basic and diagnostic sciences such as anatomy, biochemistry, and pathology, with the addition of courses in naturopathic philosophy and hydrotherapy. The third and fourth year are spent focusing on individual modalities like herbal medicine, nutrition and homeopathy in addition to more specialized coursework such as gastroenterology, cardiology, and gynecology. These last two years are also when naturopathic medical students receive their clinical training in the schools' outpatient teaching clinics. By graduation, naturopathic students will have completed a total of over 4,500 hours of classroom and clinical work.