Naturopath vs. Homeopath: What You Need to Know
Many people are unsure of the difference between naturopathic medicine and homeopathy. Both are types of holistic healing practices. Homeopathy can be a sub-specialization under the larger umbrella of naturopathic medicine and can also be practiced separately by practitioners who have only trained in this therapeutic option.
What is a Naturopathic Doctor?
A naturopathic doctor (ND) is a primary care provider that has undergone a rigorous education and training process in order to become qualified to diagnose and treat patients with chronic and acute health concerns. Naturopathic doctors use a variety of non-invasive treatments and lifestyle changes to address patients’ health.
The Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic doctors follow these six principles to guide their treatment practices.
The principle “first, do no harm” means that NDs primarily choose the least invasive forms of treatment for their patients. NDs recognize the body’s inherent ability to heal itself and use natural, gentle approaches as well as lifestyle, diet, and environmental changes to address health concerns.
Naturopathic doctors use substances originating in nature to promote healing, and believe that a healthy natural environment is foundational to human health.
Naturopathic medicine focuses on identifying and treating the causes of a given symptom instead of only addressing the symptom on its own. A naturopathic doctor will always work to discover the root cause of any symptoms a patient is experiencing, while also recommending ways to manage symptoms in the short-term.
Naturopathic doctors are dedicated to educating, as well as healing, their patients. This means that NDs empower their patients by expanding their knowledge about their own health, nutrition, and body processes.
Naturopathic medicine focuses on the interconnectedness of the body, lifestyle, and environment. Because of this, NDs treat the whole person by looking into the possibility that seemingly separate symptoms may be connected and by examining a person’s lifestyle, environment, and diet to come up with a treatment plan that is holistic and comprehensive.
Naturopathic doctors believe that the best thing people can do for their wellbeing is to take preventative measures that keep them healthy. This means that NDs focus on helping patients achieve the healthiest possible lifestyle for their individual situation.
What is a Homeopath?
A homeopath is someone who specializes specifically in healing through homeopathy, the practice of using natural substances to trigger the body’s own natural self-healing abilities. Homeopathic medicine comes in various forms, including pills and tinctures.
While some homeopathic practitioners may describe themselves as “homeopathic doctors,” there are no accredited schools that offer a doctorate in homeopathy in the United States or Canada. Some licensed naturopathic doctors may utilize homeopathy with their patients, but will not refer to themselves as “homeopathic doctors.” If you are taking health advice from anyone, always be sure that you know exactly what type of educational background and qualifications that they have.
If you are interested in homeopathic healing, seek out a licensed naturopathic doctor. NDs are trained in homeopathy as well as a number of other natural healing techniques and have an extensive clinical and educational background that allow for comprehensive care.
Naturopath vs. Homeopath: Similar but Different
Naturopathic medicine and homeopathy are both non-invasive, natural methods that prioritize the body’s natural ability to self heal. Naturopathic doctors will use a wide variety of integrative techniques to treat health issues, while homeopaths utilize only homeopathic medicine.
Accredited Schools for Naturopathic and Homeopathic Learning
AANMC member schools teach naturopathic medicine, which includes homeopathy. If you are interested in a career in naturopathic medicine and homeopathy, the following schools offer programs that provide the education and hands-on experience required for a career as an ND with homeopathic knowledge. See our list of Holistic Medicine Schools.
- Degrees & Certificates Offered
- Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
- Master of Science in Midwifery
- Master of Science in Nutrition and Clinical Health Psychology
- Nutrition (with optional Didactic Program in Dietetics)
- Master of Science in Nutrition and Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (dual degree)
- Master of Public Health
- Bachelor of Science with a Major in: Health Psychology, Herbal Sciences, Integrated Human Biology, Nutrition, Nutrition and Culinary Arts, Nutrition and Exercise Science
- Certificate in Holistic Landscape Design, Chinese Herbal Medicine
- Dietetic Internship
- Simkin Center for Allied Birth Professionals Courses for Birth Professionals
- Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
- Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine
- Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and Chiropractic Medicine (dual degree)
- Doctor of Acupuncture
- Master of Acupuncture
- Master of Acupuncture and Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (dual degree)
- Doctor of Acupuncture and Chiropractic Medicine (dual degree)
- Bachelor of Biomedical Science