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What is Naturopathic Medicine?

By Sarah Guhman, SCNM Admissions Representative

According to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc, the global complementary and alternative medicine market size is projected to reach USD 296.3 billion by 2027. With such incredible projected growth in the natural health industry, it seems there’s no better time to explore the expanding field of naturopathic medicine as a medical professional.

Rise in Natural Health

SCNM | Fitness Center- Yoga classNearly every city in the U.S. has this landscape in common: a yoga studio on every corner, large organic food displays in everyday grocery stores, and signage touting the effectiveness of vitamin supplements and herbal remedies. With the increasing coverage of natural therapies, such as acupuncture by insurance companies, we’re likely to see a growing public interest in naturopathy. Despite the rise in interest in natural health, some people are still not quite sure what naturopathic medicine is or how it can help them. They may have heard of integrative medicine, preventative medicine, and even functional medicine… but what is naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic Medicine Definition

According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC), “naturopathic medicine is a distinct health care profession that combines the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are trained as primary care providers who diagnose, treat and manage patients with acute and chronic conditions, while addressing disease and dysfunction at the level of body, mind and spirit.”

What Does a Naturopathic Doctor Do?

It is this combination of conventional medicine combined with time-tested natural therapies (such as nutrition, botanical medicine, and acupuncture) that allows a naturopathic doctor to get to the root cause of disease and treat the whole person, rather than just the symptoms. As more patients seek out holistic forms of therapy and often don’t want to be on so many pharmaceuticals, there is an increase in the demand for naturopathic medicine and a more natural approach to healthcare.

Thousands of patients walk through the doors of the SCNM Medical Center every year, and it is patient comments like these that continue to inspire our doctors and students alike: “SCNM took the time that all of the other doctors for years did not. They listened, planned, and cared! After four and a half months on the new diet, I [considered] it a new lease on life!” Naturopathic physicians use all the tools in their toolbox to truly exemplify their role as “Doctor as Teacher.”

Finding a Career in Naturopathic Medicine

So how do you know if a career in naturopathic medicine is right for you? Perhaps a good place to begin would be by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you realize that there is more to medicine than drugs and surgery?
  • Are you passionate about holistic health and treating the whole person?
  • Do you want to help others take their health into their own hands?

If you’ve answered yes to any of those questions, then you’ve already taken the first step in exploring a career as a naturopathic physician by visiting this website and learning what naturopathic medicine has to offer.

SCNM | SCNM Academic Building

Next Steps to Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

In addition, you may want to find a naturopathic doctor in your area to ask a few questions and learn more about the profession ( is a great resource). Feel free to check out our Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine Program Overview page for more information about SCNM’s curriculum or contact an admissions representative for details about upcoming start dates, program requirements, and scholarship opportunities.


Pursuing a career in the field of naturopathic medicine is a rewarding journey filled with joys and challenges and we are here to help guide you along your way.