Naturopathy has its roots in nature cure, a European health movement that began in the late 1700's. Utilizing simple treatments from nature, sunlight, water, food, and simple living, nature cure was brought to the United States at the end of the 1800's by a German practitioner named Benedict Lust. Once in this country, Lust trained as an osteopath, herbalist, and homeopath before opening his own school of medicine. Formalized into a full training program of eclectic studies, nature cure became naturopathy.
The profession evolved through the 1900's incorporating modern medical theory and diagnostic techniques and practices if they fit into naturopathy's original philosophical tenets. This blend of traditional nature cure and modern science is what we now call naturopathic medicine.
Denver has its own history of nature cure, homeopathy, and Naturopathic medicine.
Dr. Charles Enos and Dr. Samuel Shannon opened the Denver Homeopathic Hospital in 1890.
Another school, the University of Natural Healing Arts trained chiropractors and naturopathic doctors at 1075 Logan Street from 1923 until it closed in the 1960's. The program was on par with the other schools training naturopaths across the country at that time. As a result, many of Colorado's early naturopathic doctors practiced under chiropractic licenses.
Even during those earlier years, the practice of naturopathy required a rigorous course of study. From the 1956 catalog: "The Doctor of Naturopathy course requires four school years (36 months) and 4,680 sixty -minute hours of instruction of which not over 1,080 hours shall be in Public Clinic and Intern work... No correspondence courses are offered by the University, and no short courses in Chiropractic or Naturopathy. The nature of the schooling, the responsibility of the practitioner, and the conscientious high standards of the University do not permit haphazard or inferior training."
We include this historic aside because in recent years individuals who have taken short correspondence courses in natural health have begun practicing in Colorado claiming to be "Naturopathic Doctors." Sadly, they meet neither the traditional standards of education for the profession that have been accepted for almost 80 years in Colorado nor the modern standards required for licensure in other states or Registration in Colorado.
Regulation in Colorado:
A bill to regulate naturopathic doctors was passed by the Colorado Legislature and signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper in 2013. Naturopathic doctors are now regulated in Colorado. Only practitioners who meet the educational requirements laid out in statute and who are registered with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) may use the title "Naturopathic Doctor" in the state.
Consumers are able to check on DORA's website whether a practitioner is a registered naturopathic doctor by going to: Verify a Colorado Professional or Business License
Licensure versus Registration:
Under Colorado statutes, there is no specified difference between licensure and registration although the assumption is that licensure requires higher thresholds of training or supervision. In Colorado, the requirements are specified in the statute and do not reflect and difference in stringency of requirements. The Colorado registration requirements for naturopathic doctors are equivalent to the licensure requirements in other states. Registered Naturopathic Doctors in Colorado must have graduated from a nationally accredited college, passed national board exams and hold appropriate malpractice insurance.
Modern Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic medicine has come a long way in the last hundred years. Modern naturopathic doctors complete undergraduate pre-med educations before attending four year naturopathic medical schools. These schools are accredited by both regional and programmatic accrediting agencies recognized by the US Department of Education. Upon completing their training, graduates must pass national board examinations before states will grant them licenses to practice.
Drs. Bloom and Schor were originally licensed in Oregon as 'Naturopathic Physicians' in 1992 and currently have active registrations as Naturopathic Doctors in Colorado. Dr. Schor still maintains his Oregon License, partly out of habit, partly out of stubbornness.
Further information on naturopathic medical education and a list of accredited training programs can be found at the website of the American Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges(AANMC).