(Especially if you’re a skeptic.)
Training and regulation of naturopathic practitioners varies from country to country. This site discusses naturopathy as practiced by licensed NDs in the United States and Canada. I use the term ND, short for naturopathic doctor, to distinguish from naturopathic practitioners who have significantly different training, both within and outside the USA. For more on this, the section below on Terms Used in This Blog, and Why.
I see a lot of confusion in many blog posts regarding how the US licenses and regulates healthcare providers. Briefly, it’s done at the state level, not the federal level, and NDs (like other healthcare professions in the US) are self-regulated. And yes, NDs are subjects to HIPAA regulations, and know about them, and yes, NDs can be sued for malpractice. For more, see US Healthcare Provider Regulation 101.
While not a skeptic site per se, this site does seek to evaluate naturopathic medicine with tools provided by critical thinking. A document that lists some of my working assumptions (note: as of 2018) can be found at Critical Evaluation.
Terms used in this blog, and why
In this blog I use the terms naturopathic doctor and ND for those who graduated from the schools accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medicine (CNME). I use the terms naturopathic medical school to refer to those schools accredited by CNME, and naturopathic medicine to refer to the style of therapeutics taught in those schools and practiced by licensed naturopaths. These terms are what members of these professions, and those who see them, typically use. I use the term traditional naturopath if referring to someone who has gone through a non-accredited school.
I’m aware of the discussion around whether or not the term doctor should be used by those who did not receive an MD or DO. I under the reasoning behind those arguments. However, this blog is aimed at those who use the terms ND and naturopathic doctor. While some members of the profession appear to be reclaiming the unadorned term naturopath to refer to themselves, many still associate that word with sites that they see as vilifying them. So do their patients.
I do not have a problem with clearly describing the issues with the profession, its therapeutics, or its concepts. There are indeed members of this profession who are neither well-intentioned nor acting with integrity, and I have no problems clearly calling that out, either. However, I believe it is essential to talk about the problems with a profession in a way that speaks to its many well-intentioned and intelligent members.