What is a Traditional Naturopath?

“One of the biggest tragedies of human civilization is the precedents of chemical therapy over nutrition. It is a substitution of artificial therapy over natural, of poison over food, in which we are feeding people poisons trying to correct the reactions of starvation.” Dr. Royal Lee – January 12, 1951

What is Naturopathy? – The term naturopathy traces its roots to the first Naturopathic school, The American College Of Naturopathy, founded by Dr. Benedict Lust in 1901. The term naturopathy is not synonymous with holistic or homeopathic as it is sometimes used. Naturopathy, by definition, is the governing discipline under which all types of natural wellness or traditional healing practices reside. Simply put, it is the umbrella for natural wellness. Because of its broad scope, this term is often caught in the middle of heated debates of “who is a Naturopath” and even ends up being legislated state by state. Let us simply outline a few types of programs that are commonly compared. Before you compare programs you need to identify types of programs. Splitting them into three categories might help. 

Traditional Naturopathy (ND* [only some states] TND, NCP, D.PSc) – When it comes to Naturopathy there seems to be two main types of naturopathic educations and practitioners. Sadly, these types of practitioners tend to argue about the term naturopathy. This is especially unfortunate because the types of education differ greatly. Reason would dictate that both types should easily be able to function concomitantly in a society with so much illness and need for the principles of naturopathic wellness. Our naturopathic education includes all types of non-invasive concepts and practices of traditional and indigenous healing/wellness practices. We use and teach non-invasive principles that were once common to all people going back through history. We do not claim the right to diagnose illness or provide modern medical intervention such as writing prescriptions or doing surgeries. We prefer to work with you as your work with your Primary Care Physician. As a Traditional Naturopath, our education includes Aryuveda, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Flower Essences, Vitamin/Mineral/Micronutrient Therapy, and other modalities in continuing education. Traditional Naturopaths are typically non-state licensed but may be licensed through other private or ecclesiastical medical boards and associations.

Modern Medical Naturopathy (NMD, ND) – There are several programs that some people refer to as a Medical Naturopathic Program. These programs are residency based (on campus five days a week) that last on average 4 years and cost several hundred thousand dollars. Theses programs cover significantly more medical science than a Traditional Naturopathy Program. In many cases, graduates from such programs can write prescriptions and do surgical or other medical procedures. With the inclusion of such intense medical, pharmaceutical and invasive procedure training, it is no surprise that they are residency based and cost what they do. Sadly in our medical obsessed society, sometimes there is an incorrect assumption that this means they do a better job teaching naturopathic principles. This is a false assumption. Here at our school, we have had graduates from such programs go through our program in an effort to get more training on traditional naturopathic modalities and principles. Though we don’t know of an example, we would not be surprised if a graduate from our program decides they want to practice more modern western medicine. In such a case, it would be our hope that they choose one such medical naturopathic program where even though they will be learning modern medical invasive procedures, they will also have some naturopathic fundamentals. It really comes down to how you want to practice. Do you want to have a license to diagnose? Do you want to write pharmaceutical prescriptions and so forth? Are you in a position to spend a few hundred thousands of dollars and go to school full time for several years?