Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are primary care providers, who use therapies which are mostly natural and non-toxic and which stimulate and encourage the person's inherent healing ability, 'the vital force'.
NDs advocate prevention and teach patients to prevent illness through lifestyle changes. The concept of vis medicatrix naturae - "the healing power of nature" has long been the core of indigenous medicine in many cultures around the world and remains one of the central themes of naturopathic philosophy to this day.
To receive a doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine, candidates must complete a rigorous four year post-graduate medical training program. NDs are trained in physical, clinical and laboratory diagnosis and refer to appropriate medical specialists as needed.
Naturopathic physicians have prescription authority which is usually reserved as a last resort.