Naturopathic medicine is defined by the State of Connecticut as "the science, art, and practice of healing by natural methods" and combines modern medical research and interventions with traditional therapies used for centuries from different parts of the world. The approach of naturopathic medicine considers both material and mechanical sciences while striving to support the body's natural ability to heal physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
The goal of a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) is to restore a person's body to balance and optimal health. This is accomplished by using the constituents of the body, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and neurotransmitters as well as addressing physical and energetic misalignments. Success is also achieved by considering as many aspects of a person as possible or treating the whole person, and not just relieving a set of isolated ailments; the premise behind Naturopathic medicine is to find the root cause of illness and to address health concerns at their very core, rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment.
A Naturopathic physician is trained for general practice as a primary care physician in one of several accredited medical colleges in North America. Naturopathic medical colleges require a four year commitment, with the first two years being the same basic sciences as expected of a conventional Medical Doctor. The last two years diverge from the conventional Medical Doctors by emphasizing clinical therapies that are more holistic, and often less invasive, than conventional pharmaceutical medications. This supplement to the standard medical curriculum includes years of training in clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, physical manipulation therapy, counseling and psychology. Successful mastery of the material must be demonstrated in a pair of rigorous board examinations which are used nationally for accreditation purposes.
When such comprehensive training is coupled with an organic vision of health and wellness, it is no surprise that naturopathic physicians are considered by many, including medical insurance companies, as preferred specialists in complimentary and integrative medicine.