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Differences Between an ND and an NMD

ND and NMD

“ND” stands for “naturopathic doctor” while “NMD” stands for “naturopathic medical doctor.” ND and NMD are interchangeable terms. In general, ND and NMD are simply referring to naturopathic physicians. What do naturopathic physicians do? How are they different from the usual physicians we know?

A naturophatic doctor (ND) or a naturopathic medical doctor (NMD) is a doctor who helps his patient to prevent illnesses by greatly focusing on the patient’s natural ability to heal. In other words, a naturopathic doctor mostly treats a patient using natural methods or alternative medicines.

Since more and more people are looking for natural alternative ways to improve their health, more and more health practitioners are also taking up ND or NMD degrees. Oftentimes, you can see the “MD” initials after a doctor’s name. We all know that if a person has an “MD “initial right after his name, he is a doctor. However, these days, we are also noticing that some doctors have ND initials. We often think that it is only a typographical error since we are already accustomed to “MD.” But the ND really exists, and it stands for “naturophatic doctor.”

The ND or NMD makes his treatment more effective through combining modern science and the power of nature. The ND uses a holistic approach when treating his patient. He applies the traditional healing methods and makes them more effective through applying the different principles and practices. Usually, the naturopathic doctors practice their profession in the United States and Canada. You will often see an ND or NMD working in hospitals, clinics, and health centers.

Before an ND or NMD is able to practice his/her profession, he undergoes intensive training first. All health practitioners, not only doctors, undergo rigorous training since their profession involves the lives of several people. Before you can apply for an ND or NMD program, you need to finish a four-year degree first. After graduating from a four year course, you can try applying for the ND or NMD program. You will study for another four, long years before you can become an ND or NMD just like what MDs do.

According to naturopathyworks.com, in a naturopathic medical institution, the ND or NMD student will learn several basic medical sciences which include: anatomy and physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, histology, pharmacology, pathology, immunology, neuroscience, and genetics. Aside from that, ND or NMD students will also study clinical sciences which include: dermatology, oncology, endocrinology, rheumatology, gerontology, obstetrics, gynecology, pulmonology, cardiology, gastroenterology, and urology.

Based again on naturopathyworks.com, since naturopathic doctors are often tied to natural treatments, they also study about naturopathic therapies such as botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, environmental medicine and physical medicine. After finishing the ND or NMD program, the ND or NMD students can now take a licensure exam to be able to practice their profession in clinical settings.

ND or NMD physicians are also required to have their continuing education. With continuing education, they can be updated with the new and more recommended trends of healing patients.


  1. “ND” stands for “naturopathic doctor” while “NMD” stands for “naturopathic” medical doctor.
  2. ND and NMD are interchangeable terms. ND and NMD are only referring to one person, and that is a naturopathic physician.
  3. A naturopathic doctor mostly treats a patient using natural methods or alternative medicines.
  4. A naturopathic doctor also combines the alternative healing methods with modern science in order to produce a more agreeable effect for the patient.
  5. Before an ND or NMD is able to practice his profession, he needs to pass the licensure exam first.

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  1. “Before an ND or NMD is able to practice his profession, he needs to pass the licensure exam first.”

    This is written under the pretense that only men are pursuing this profession. You should probably edit this.

    • I noticed this immediately as well. This passage could have easily been revised to implicitly or explicitly avoid the assumption all natruopaths are males. I see your comment is from two years ago. It seems this resource is outdated as it uses masculine pronouns as by default. No one does this anymore. If choosing non-specific pronounds really was that difficult, the least this author could done would have been to alternate pronouns.

    • Omg, butthurt feminist. Not exactly the type of doctor I’d like to get my treatment from.

  2. My impression is that people who are not successful in getting into a medical school and graduating with an M.D. become chiropractors or other non M.D. degrees like those who receive N.D. degrees. That is not to say that chiropractors or N.D.’s may not provide valuable services.

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