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Jun 13, 2014

Colorado Regulates Naturopathic Medicine







On June 5th 2013 Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill to register Naturopathic Doctors in the state of Colorado.  As of June 1st, 2014 Colorado became the 17th state to regulate Naturopathic Doctors. 



What is a Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic doctors (N.D.) are general practitioners trained as specialists in natural medicine.   Naturopathic doctors treat disease and restore health using therapies from the sciences of clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, exercise therapy, counseling, acupuncture, natural childbirth and hydrotherapy. They tailor these approaches to the needs of an individual patient.  Naturopathic medicine is effective in treating most health problems, whether acute or chronic. 
 In practice, naturopathic doctors perform physical examinations, laboratory testing, gynecological exams, nutritional and dietary assessments, metabolic analysis, allergy testing, X-ray examinations, and other diagnostic tests.  They are the only primary care doctors clinically trained in the use of a wide variety of natural therapeutics.  They combine and tailor these treatments to the needs of the individual based on a cogent philosophy that acknowledges the patient as a participant.

A naturopathic doctor (N.D.) has a degree from a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical University.  Naturopathic doctors must pass either a national or a state level board examination, and their actions are subject to review by a State Board of Examiners.

What does this new regulation mean to the general public? 

No one can call themselves a naturopathic doctor in the state of Colorado without graduating from a four year pre-med and a four year accredited post graduate clinical doctorate program and have passed a natural science and a clinical board exam to register with the state.

This law will increase access to Natural Medicine for illness prevention. Naturopathic doctors are trained to treat chronic disease associated with diet and lifestyle without using drugs such conditions as high blood pressure, high cholesterol,  obesity  and diabetes.

This law will educate Coloradans to distinguish between naturopathic doctors and lay or traditional naturopaths who lack graduate level training. 

Naturopathic doctors are required to maintain professional liability insurance and meet continuing professional competencies. 

More insurance companies will cover naturopathic care.

An increasing base of scientific research is affirming that naturopathic medicine is useful in the treatment of numerous chronic illnesses," observed Jud Richland, MPH, Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP). "A good example is the recent study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, documenting that naturopathic medicine may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among people at high risk. Naturopathic medicine, with its emphasis on self-responsibility and body's inherent self-healing capacity, is effective in many cases of preventable illness, which affect a vast and increasing number of Americans.  Naturopathic doctors provide a safe, effective, and affordable alternative for patients seeking holistic health care."

Naturopathic doctors are going to be a key component in health care, saving the state millions of dollars through their focus on disease prevention and natural treatment, such as nutrition, lifestyle counseling and botanical medicine.” --Sen. Linda Newell (D-Littleton), the bill’s sponsor in the Colorado Senate.

The law paves the way for more collaboration between Colorado NDs and medical doctors (MDs). This gives us a seat at the table in health care in Colorado. It will increase the visibility of our profession and give the public a better understanding of naturopathic doctors. And it will give them more choice in health care.” -- Denise Clark, ND, president of the Colorado Association of Naturopathic Doctors.

To learn more about naturopathic doctors please visit www.naturopathic.org and www.coanp.org.   For local information please contact Dr. Deborah Wiancek at the Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic & Natural Pharmacy at 970-926-7606 orWiancek@healthref.com.