What Type of Naturopath is Right for You?

By Dr. Scott Graves

More people every year are becoming interested in learning how healing occurs naturally in the body. If you have just begun your journey into the natural world of healing, you may run across the term “naturopath” or “naturopathic doctor”.

What a naturopath is and what kind of tools or modalities they use to help people facilitate their healing vary depending on their training and focus. Learning a bit about what types of naturopaths exist can help you choose one that will benefit you and your family the most.

What is a Naturopath?

Recently, the Orlando justice system selected me to be a potential juror. While I was in the courtroom and the prosecution and defense were screening us, one of the lawyers asked about my profession. I stated that I was a naturopath.

The lawyer smiled with confusion and then asked, “What is that?”

This is a very typical answer I get to this question. I responded, “A naturopath is one who uses nature or natural things, to help someone heal the health problems that they have.”

Most naturopaths believe that the body is a self-healing mechanism, and that in using the right tools or modalities, the body is able to heal itself. The best naturopaths look beyond the physical level in the body and help the body to heal on a soul level (energetic, mental/emotional) or spirit/spiritual level.

We are not just flesh and blood and often times what might appear to be a physical problem may be caused by problems in the soul or spirit. Unfortunately, modern Western medicine in many contexts neglects this understanding, which is why many people do not truly heal.

It is also the view of most naturopaths that in the large majority of cases, drugs and surgery can be avoided if one is willing to learn about what true health in body, mind, and spirit is and uses this knowledge to prevent health problems.

With 60-70% of all deaths in the USA today resulting from heart disease and cancer, which are largely preventable (and reversible), the question becomes: Would you like to learn about and take responsibility for your health or take medication long term and have surgery to “correct” a problem that was mostly preventable in the first place?

Two Types of Naturopaths

1. Medical Naturopathic Doctors (N.D. or M.N.D.)

A medical naturopath is one that has graduated from one of five universities in the USA that teach this curriculum. The education and training of a M.N.D. equals or exceeds the training of a regular medical doctor in many ways. They are able to prescribe drugs and perform minor surgeries. In addition to having regular Western medical training, a M.N.D is trained to use many of the following modalities in treatment:

  • Nutritional counseling
  • Herbal medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Acupuncture physician
  • Hydrotherapy (water therapy)
  • Detoxification
  • Lifestyle and limited psychological counseling

2. Traditional Naturopathic Doctors (N.D. or T.N.D.)

T.N.D.’s specializes in wellness and teach people about lifestyle changes that facilitate the body’s own natural healing ability. As is the case with a M.N.D. the main question to answer is: What is the root cause of your health problem?

While drugs help many people with acute issues and the management (not healing) of long term chronic problems, most drugs just cover symptoms and don’t facilitate true healing. A T.N.D does not diagnose or treat disease or prescribe drugs, because they recognize that the path to healing for most is found in correcting poor lifestyle choices and unhealthy habits. While not trained medically, a T.N.D. uses many of the holistic and natural modalities that a M.N.D uses such as:

  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Lifestyle Counseling
  • Detoxification
  • Whole Food Supplements and Herbal products
  • Homeopathy
  • Bach Flower Remedies
  • Applied Kinesiology
  • Many others amazing natural modalities such as Nutrition Response Testing, Autonomic Response Testing, Allergy Elimination (NAET), Touch for Health, Emotional Freedom Techniques, Psychokinesiology, Cranial Sacral, Neuro Emotional Technique (NET), BodyTalk, Color and Sound Therapy, Meditation, Qigong, Yoga and many more.

Lastly, while medical knowledge is very important, one thing I have learned is that understanding how the body works and knowing how the body heals are two very different matters. Many alternative practitioners understand how the body heals, while not knowing nearly the same amount of medical knowledge as a medical doctor.

I would encourage everyone who is curious to go see a naturopath, traditional or medical. Many ways exist to help you be healthier and seeing a naturopath can help you tremendously along your healing journey.

Dr. Scott Graves ND, MA is a Florida-based Naturopath and Intuitive who specializes in Nutrition Response Testing, NAET, EFT, and Psychokinesiology. He offers free 15 minute phone consultations and is available for radio and TV interviews.



  • Anonymous

    There is only one type of real naturopath and it is those who have gone to a naturopathic college. In Oregon, these people have to be licensed like a regular doctor would. If we didn't have this protection, anyone could put out a shingle and call themselves a naturopath.

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