Washington Institute of Natural Medicine

True/Traditional Naturopathy versus Naturopathic Medicine

True/Traditional Naturopathy is NOT Naturopathic Medicine

True/Traditional Naturopathy

  • Provides education on herbs, homeopathy, therapeutic oils, and other natural substances
  • Assists with stress relief with mind body therapies
  • Promotes health with bodywork therapies
  • Teaches benefits of healthy lifestyle
  • Counsels on nutrition, historic remedies and lifestyle
  • Uses non-invasive practice, procedures, and philosophy
  • Evaluates subtle energies
  • Uses Iridology, muscle testing, bio-energy evaluation, oriental pulse, skin, and abdominal energy evaluations
  • Looks for and treats the underlying cause of ailments
  • Focuses on healing organ systems and strengthening the constitution
  • Researches a case to determine the imbalances of the systems
  • Treats imbalances of the systems thereby treating symptoms
  • Uses theories from the orient and Europe in their assessment
  • Uses a preventative approach to health care
  • Complements conventional medical care

Washington, D.C., had a registration for traditional doctors of Naturopathy describing a scope of practice from 1985 - 2010. New legislation is pending.

Maryland permits the traditional Naturopathy methods as recognized in a memorandum from the Practice of Medicine Committee of the Maryland Board of Medicine.

Virginia Board of Medicine does not regulate Naturopathy, although permits the traditional method. Naturopaths can not violate the medical practice act.


Naturopathic Medicine

  • Performs surgery
  • Prescribes drugs
  • Treats symptoms
  • Uses invasive procedures
  • Diagnoses and treats illness based upon conventional medical theories
  • Aspires to become primary care physician — with shorter training than Medical Doctors, and are Not acknowledged by AMA
  • Uses many allopathic diagnostic procedures including X-rays and electrocardiograms with only outpatient clinical training, which has less training than conventional medical programs
  • Practices obstetrics including episiotomies without the extensive training required by medical doctors practicing obstetrics
  • Practices Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Rheumatology without receving post-graduate work as interns and residents.
  • Is a system developed from traditional/true naturopathy but augmented, thereby interjecting portions of conventional medical techniques, as a result losing the original form of traditional naturopathy practice
  • Competes with conventional medical doctor’s care

This medical oriented Naturopathic Medicine method, described above, is not permitted by boards of Medicine in Washington, D.C., Maryland nor Virginia. It is considered a violation of the Medical Practice Acts of those jurisdictions. These practitioners are considered to be practicing medicine without a license, when they use their full scope of practice. In Maryland, a Naturopathic physician was arrested for practicing medicine without a license. The case was upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

Medically oriented Naturopathic physicians located in the metro area are not permitted to use their full scope of practice because many of their methods are considered to be methods only permitted for Medical Doctors. They can only practice the traditional method of which they are not trained in.

Traditional Naturopaths believe Naturopathic Medicine is not true Naturopathy.

It is argued by many, that the goals and philosophies of Naturopathic Medical Schools violate the basic core of Naturopathic Philosophy by engaging in conventional medical practices.

The Washington Institute believes in and specializes in the traditional methods of Naturopathy. The Institute also recognizes that Naturopathic Medical Doctors exist within the natural health care system. The Institute desires to work cooperatively even though they are of differing opinions.

©Washington Institute of Natural Medicine