Frequently Asked Questions
- Does naturopathic medicine work?
- How are naturopathic physicians educated?
- Are naturopathic physicians licensed?
- Are naturopathic physicians covered by my health insurance?
- What is the scope of practice of naturopathic physicians?
- Do naturopathic physicians use prescription drugs?
There are countless studies that demonstrate the efficacy of natural therapies. The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine, Alternative Medicine Review, and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition are some of the many journals devoted to reporting scientific studies done on herbal medicines and vitamin/mineral therapy. All told, over 40 scientific journals worldwide are devoted to reporting current research in clinical nutrition.
Moreover, the Textbook of Natural Medicine cites over 5000 references from the conventional biomedical literature that support naturopathic theory and practice. Bastyr University, a nationally accredited naturopathic medical school, is a leading research center for natural medicine in North America. It is the recipient of a multi-million research grant from the National Institute of Health to study the effectiveness of natural therapies in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
Naturopathic physicians complete premedical undergraduate training and attend a four-year post-graduate naturopathic medical school. They are educated in the conventional medical sciences such as anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, and the signs and symptoms of disease. Naturopathic physicians, however, also receive extensive clinical training in nutrition, botanical medicine, physical medicine, lifestyle counseling, and homeopathy. They also complete supervised clinical internships using these therapies. Naturopaths are essentially specialists in evidence based natural medicine, and are uniquely qualified to bridge the gap between conventional and alternative medicine.
In Vermont, naturopathic doctors are licensed as primary care physicians by the state of Vermont. Only physicians licensed by the state may call themselves naturopaths, naturopathic physicians, naturopathic doctors, or use the initials “ND” after their name. In order to be licensed by the state of Vermont, naturopathic physicians must graduate from an approved naturopathic medical school, pass medical board exams, and fulfill continuing medical education requirements.
Other states and jurisdictions that license naturopathic physicians include Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, California, Arizona, Montana, Oregon, Hawaii, Washington, Utah, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, District of Columbia, Minnesota, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands.
We accept most health insurance including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, Cigna, MVP, CBA Blue, Vermont Medicaid, Green Mountain Care, Harvard Pilgrim, and Dr. Dynasaur. About the only plans we can’t accept are Medicare and out-of-state plans.
We are also primary care physicians (PCPs), which means that you can get your physicals, annual checkups, and acute care taken care of here.
In Vermont, naturopathic physicians are licensed to diagnose and treat disease. This includes providing regular checkups, physical exams, gynecological exams, laboratory tests, and imaging tests such as x-rays and ultrasounds. They are also licensed to administer intravenous vitamin and mineral therapy and vaccinations, and have full prescribing authority for prescription drugs.
In most cases naturopathic doctors will attempt to treat the cause of the disease so that no medication is required or use natural alternatives to these drugs instead. In Vermont, however, naturopathic physicians have full prescribing authority, so that when natural medicine isn’t enough, your health issues can still be addressed.