Naturopathic medicine has been practiced for centuries, but many people still question the validity of this field of medicine due to inaccurate stereotypes. Naturopathic Medicine Week, May 16-22, is all about educating the others on the principles of naturopathic medicine and the role it plays in preventing disease, finding the root cause of illness, and lowering health care costs. Here are a few common myths about naturopathic medicine.

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Naturopathic medicine isn’t backed by science

Naturopathic medicine has evolved since it began thousands of years ago and now incorporates modern science and research with natural remedies. Evidence-based research is critical to effective treatment and many naturopathic doctors and researchers are dedicated to research that would improve existing therapeutics through scientific exploration.

Naturopathic and conventional medicine don’t work together

Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that naturopathic doctors oppose all conventional medicine and pharmaceuticals. While naturopathic and conventional medicine work differently, they don’t oppose each other. In fact, the two often work together to create an integrative health care plan to maximize the health of a patient.

Naturopathic doctors receive little training

Many believe that naturopathic doctors can take a simple online course and become a doctor, however, that’s not the case. To become a naturopathic doctor, you must complete four years of medical training at an accredited naturopathic medical school that includes hands-on, supervised, clinical training. Following graduation, students must pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam (NPLEX) which covers basic sciences, diagnostic and therapeutic subjects and clinical sciences. There are currently only five accredited naturopathic medical schools in the U.S. and Tempe-based Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine is the only one in the Southwest.

Naturopathic medicine isn’t effective

For centuries naturopathic medicine has been used to treat a variety of conditions including allergies, headaches, chronic pain and much more. Naturopathy is focused on treating the whole person by identifying the underlying causes of an illness and removing obstacles to cure with a goal of getting well and staying well. This approach is different than that of conventional medicine which treats the symptoms of an illness but doesn’t make naturopathic medicine any less effective.

Naturopathic medicine is grounded in centuries of practice while now utilizing modern science to create effective treatments for patients. Naturopathy utilizes the healing power of nature to treat the whole person and teach them how to get well and stay well. Next time you feel unwell, consider visiting a naturopathic doctor to not only treat your symptoms, but heal the root-cause.


Dr. Joseph Vazquez, Associate Dean of Clinical Education at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, has been practicing since 2013, with a focus in general medicine, physical medicine and cardiology. Dr. Vazquez has been active in the community of naturopathic medical education leadership, representing SCNM in various organizations including the Council of Chief Academic and Clinical Officers (CCACO) and the AANMC, where he has contributed to publications regarding the therapeutic benefits of laughter and natural approaches to IBS.