A Naturopathic Physician (or Naturopathic Doctor) is a fully licensed, state regulated, highly educated and clinically trained doctor who combines the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science.
By using treatment approaches that minimize the risk of harm, Naturopathic Physicians help their patients restore and maintain optimal health.
Naturopathic doctors acknowledge the mind, body and spirit are all at play in both good and challenged health, and are generous with their appointment times in order to build knowledge of their patients, and trust between doctor and patient.
NDs have vital ongoing comprehensive discussions with their patients about their health history and response to any prescribed treatment. They regularly physically examine their patients and order blood, or other studies like EKGs, bone density or mammograms, as needed.
Naturopathic Physicians always use dietary adjustment as a primary tool for restoring good health, and work with their clients to find the food and nutrient balance that best meets each unique client’s health needs.
An ND’s therapeutic approach most likely will incorporate:
All choices of therapeutic agents as listed above are consistent with Naturopathic medical standard of care and in accordance with laws established by the State of Washington.
A degree from an accredited Naturopathic medical school is required for licensure as a Naturopathic Physician in Washington State. Accredited Naturopathic programs consist of a minimum of 4,100 hours of class and clinical training.
Prior to admission into an accredited Naturopathic medical school, the typical matriculating student has completed four years of pre-medical training and earned a bachelor of science degree from a four year college baccalaureate program.
Naturopathic medical school training itself is a full four year graduate level program comparable to, and yet surpassing of standard conventional medical training (MD).
(see chart for course of study comparison)
A licensed Naturopathic Doctor has therefore had a total of eight (8) years of post-secondary education.
During Naturopathic medical school, students are educated in the biomedical sciences (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry) as well as all applied medical sciences (endocrinology, gynecology, pediatrics, gastroenterology, urology, etcetera).
NDs are taught to consider and apply all current best mainstream treatments for medical conditions, but are most uniquely trained in how to effectively treat illness and improve health using 100% all natural non-toxic strategies.
The general initial early educational structure for Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) is comparable to that of conventional medical doctors (MDs) insofar as in the first two years both medical programs emphasize courses such as anatomy and biochemistry, while the third and fourth years study focus on proper patient assessment and diagnosis.
Just like their MD counterparts, Naturopathic medical students have opportunities for hands-on clinical training and practice, at their schools’ teaching clinics and at off-site clinics, under the close supervision of licensed professionals.
Applying medical knowledge to real-life situations is entirely the point of all medical training.
Quite uniquely, however, Naturopaths have completed advanced coursework in nutrition, botanical and homeopathic medicine, physical hands-on medicine, intravenous therapies, endocrine system treatment with natural biologically identical hormones and counseling/psychology. These above are all barely mentioned in conventional medical school, and for instance, most MDs are lucky to have even a single nutrition course during their four years of medical training.
Upon licensure, continuing education is required annually, and is closely monitored by the state the particular ND is practicing within.
In WA state, all those practicing Naturopathic medicine must have successfully completed a course of study at one of the eight accredited Naturopathic schools (see below), and completed licensing exams in WA state.
The accrediting body for Naturopathic medical colleges does not recognize degrees from so-called online programs of study.
Most importantly, however, is the philosophy and commitment to practicing within the four tenets of Naturopathic medicine:
Toward this end, NDs’ therapeutic approach will always focus toward:
Patients can be assured that Naturopaths will always have a primary goal to improve health; to educate about treatment options, both conventional and most importantly natural; and will support the body, mind and spirit in the most natural and authentically healing way.
There are currently seven accredited schools with eight campus locations in the United States and Canada. A degree from an accredited medical school is required for a ND to be licensed or certified by the State of Washington.
Accredited Schools accepted by Washington State Department of Health:
To practice medicine in Washington State as a Naturopathic Physician, ND, all the following must be in compliance:
- License in good standing;
- Yearly License Renewal;
- Graduation from accredited Naturopathic Medical School;
- Out of State License disclosure;
- HIV / AIDS training;
- Passing the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination (NPLEX) administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE);
- 20 hours continuing medical education every year.
Dr. Sierra Breitbeil ND is a Naturopathic Physician devoted to natural health care, longevity potentiation, anti-aging and smart disease management.
Dr. Sierra founded the Methow Valley Wellness Center in 1997 and has been in private clinical practice for over 20 years providing patient appointments at the Methow Valley Wellness Center, and remotely via telemedicine appointments.
Dr. Sierra wants to know her patients well, and to develop therapeutic and connecting relationship with each person who comes to be treated by her.