Training in naturopathy is provided mostly through natural and/or alternative medicine colleges and universities. Degree programs, including 4-year ND programs, are available along with continuing education and individual courses. While some courses found in naturopathy programs are similar to those in Western healthcare training - such as anatomy and physiology - naturopathy emphasizes healing modalities not included in the Western scientific model. These include Chinese medicine and acupuncture, herbal medicine, holistic nutrition, herbology, Ayurvedic science, homeopathy and spirituality.
Here are some common concepts taught in naturopathy courses:
- Naturopathic remedies
- Holistic nutrition
- Medical terminology
- Clinical herbalism
- Botany and horticulture
List of Common Courses
Basic Anatomy Course
Students study all of the systems of the human body including the musculoskeletal, circulatory, nervous, digestive, respiratory, urinary and reproductive systems. Coursework introduces anatomical terminology and a description of cellular processes. This lecture and lab course involves the dissection of human cadavers.
Botanical Medicine Course
Since herbal remedies constitute a major component of naturopathic medicine, naturopathy programs contain many courses related to the pharmacological uses of plants. Coursework provides comprehensive descriptions of plants and their properties, as well as the taxonomy, identification and nomenclature used in the field of naturopathic medicine. Knowledge of herbal remedies from a variety of cultures is integrated with pharmacological research from the mainstream scientific community.
Clinical Education Course
This class prepares students to work in clinical settings. Subjects covered include clinic policies, standard operating procedures and the role of the student clinician. Case management issues and lab procedures are addressed as students begin working under the supervision of licensed healthcare workers including naturopathic doctors. Group discussions and case studies help students to handle new situations as they prepare to become doctors.
Naturopathic Obstetrics Course
Obstetrics courses prepare naturopathic physicians to provide pre- and post-natal care. Students learn to diagnose pregnancy, help mothers and fetuses maintain optimum health and counsel women and families on birthing options. Other subjects discussed include infertility, patient complaints during pregnancy and high-risk pregnancies. This course will provide students with the necessary knowledge to take the American College of Naturopathic Obstetricians (ACNO) licensing examination.
Manufacturing Medicinal Herbs Course
This class may be part of a continuing education program for already-licensed naturopathic doctors. Students may join their teacher outdoors for lessons in herb identification and gathering. Discussions include how herbs are harvested and transported as well as measures used to preserve their efficacy in medicinal preparations.