What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic medicine (sometimes called "naturopathy") is a distinct system of primary health care that emphasizes prevention and the self-healing process through the use of natural therapies. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) blend centuries-old knowledge and a philosophy that nature is the most effective healer with current research on health and human systems.


Naturopathic diagnosis focuses on identifying the underlying causes of disease, while naturopathic therapies are supported by research drawn from peer-reviewed journals from many disciplines, including naturopathic medicine, conventional medicine, European complementary medicine, clinical nutrition, phytotherapy, pharmacognosy, homeopathy, psychology and spirituality.

The therapeutic modalities used in naturopathic medicine (including physical manipulation, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy and hydrotherapy) integrate conventional, scientific and empirical methodology with the ancient laws of nature. The underpinnings of naturopathic medical practice are in six principles

  • First, do no harm
  • The body has an inherent wisdom to heal
  • Identify and treat the cause
  • Doctor is teacher
  • Treat the whole person
  • Prevention is the cure

How does Naturopathic Medicine differ from conventional medicine?

Educated in all of the same basic sciences as a medical doctor (MD), a naturopathic doctor uses the Western medical sciences as a foundation for diagnosis and treatment. Just like MDs, naturopathic physicians must pass rigorous professional board exams before they can be licensed by a state or jurisdiction. And, for at least the final two years of the medical program, naturopathic medical students intern in clinical settings under the close supervision of licensed professionals.

NDs, however, also study holistic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and promoting wellness. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, NDs are trained in clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, physical medicine and counseling. Another distinguishing feature is the treatment philosophy: Naturopathic doctors see the physician as someone who facilitates healing by identifying and removing barriers to health.


What type of training does a Naturopathic Doctor receive?

Naturopathic doctors undergo training similar to medical and osteopathic doctors. Naturopathic medical colleges are four-year postgraduate schools with rigorous admissions requirements comparable to allopathic medical schools. The Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree is awarded after classroom, clinical and practical study. The cumulative number of hours spent in training is 4,700, which is comparable to the number of hours medical doctors spend in medical school.

ND's are trained in medical sciences (including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, cardiology, neurology, radiology, minor surgery, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, psychology, dermatology, and clinical and physical diagnosis), as well as, natural therapeutic methods of healing. Like many states and provinces, California's laws require extensive post-doctoral board examination for licensure. This policy is supported by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, which also maintains the highest standards of education and medical practice and encourages scientific research.

List of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Schools


Is Naturopathic Medicine safe?

Absolutely. One of the fundamental tenets of Naturopathic medicine is "First Do No Harm." Our commitment is to help you feel better without causing harm or enduring uncomfortable side effects. Naturopathic doctors have extensive training in the safe use of botanicals, homeopathy, and supplements. Furthermore, we are trained in the interactions between natural medicines and pharmaceuticals. We recommend that people seek assistance from a qualified practitioner whenever using herbal or vitamin supplementation to ensure health and safety.

What can I expect during an initial Naturopathic visit?

An initial Naturopathic office visit with Dr. Iwanicki will usually last about an hour to an hour and a half. During your first visit, Dr. Iwanicki will review your complete health history, your current health concerns, review your current medications and supplements, and discuss any medical records or lab work you bring with you. Pertinent physical examinations will be performed, and laboratory or imaging tests may be ordered. Additionally a drop of blood will be taken and a BAH examination will be performed to ascertain the best treatment protocol for you. He will listen carefully to your health concerns and work with you to create a treatment plan that is ideal for you.


The journey towards health and wellness takes time and the process may occur in phases. During the initial visits, we discuss a clear plan and visions of your health goals, as well as, how we, as a "team", will achieve them. We are committed to being in communication with you about your health needs and goals. You can expect to obtain a very specific and tailored treatment plan when you work with Dr. Iwanicki.

Are my Naturopathic vists covered by Insurance?

Unfortunately, naturopathic medical services are not covered by your health insurance; they are self-pay services. However, if you have a flexible spending account (FSA), you may be able to use it for naturopathic and/or acupuncture services. We also provide comprehensive super bills that can be submitted to your insurance for reimbursement.