At the turn of the century, practitioners of a variety of medical disciplines combined natural therapeutics in a unique way. They joined together to form the first Naturopathic medical societies.
Naturopathic medical conventions in the 1920’s attracted more than 10,000 practitioners. Early in the 20th century there were more than 20 Naturopathic colleges, and Naturopathic physicians were licensed in a majority of the states.
Naturopathic Medicine experienced a decline in the 1940’s and 50’s with the rise and popularity of pharmaceutical drugs, technological medicine, and the widespread belief that these therapies could eliminate all disease. But it has experienced a resurgence in the last two decades, as a health conscious public seeks out alternatives to conventional medicine.
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In 2018, According to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, currently 20 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands have licensing or registration laws for Naturopathic Doctors.1 In these states, Naturopathic Doctors are required to graduate from accredited four-year residential naturopathic medical programs and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license or registration.
For information about the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination Board (NPLEX) and the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE), please see the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians' Education page.
Licensed and registered Naturopathic Doctors must fulfill state-mandated continuing education requirements annually and have a specific scope of practice as defined by their state's law. Jurisdictions that currently regulate Naturopathic Doctors are:
District of Columbia
US Virgin Islands