Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Naturopathic Medical Doctor?

Naturopathic doctors are the only primary care providers who are clinically trained in both natural and conventional approaches to medicine. They use advanced diagnostics and natural medicine to prevent disease, treat acute illness and permanently reverse chronic health conditions. They focus on restoring health and preventing disease, often by finding the root cause of illness. 

Naturopathic doctors are trained in the same health sciences as MDs.  They attend an accredited 4-year medical school after completed undergraduate degree with premedical sciences. Naturopathic medical training programs include two years of basic science education (e.g. gross anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, histology, etc.) and then two years education in the clinical sciences (e.g. gynecology, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, etc.).

They are required to pass medical sciences board exams after their second year of medical school and clinical board exams after graduation. Depending on the state licensing requirements, they make be required to take additional boards in pharmacology and surgical procedures. 

It is important to distinguish licensed naturopathic doctors from lay practitioners who may be referred to as naturopaths but do not have accredited medical training. 

Can Naturopathic Doctors Prescribe Medications?

In the state of California, licensed naturopathic doctors are required to pass an additional pharmacological board exam in addition to their medical board exams. They may prescribe drugs with the exception of Schedule I-II drugs. However, it is often their philosophy to reduce overall reliance on prescription drugs. 

At San Diego Integrative Health, we can prescribe and manage many drugs such as high blood pressure and cholesterol drugs while simultaneously reducing your need for them.

Can Naturopathic Doctors Order Labs And Imaging Tests?

Yes, in California the law defines naturopathic doctors as primary care providers who may order labs and imaging tests (e.g. x-rays, ultrasounds, mammograms, etc.).

Does Insurance Cover The Services Of Naturopathic Doctors?

Some insurance companies cover the services of a naturopathic doctor on an out-of-network basis. Most offices cannot accept insurance as payment for office visits. In many cases, you can use flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts to pay for naturopathic services. Additionally, most PPO plans cover lab costs and may reimburse for office visit fees.