Naturopathy has its roots in the European health movement called Nature Cure 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 a 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 at that point, the practice of Naturopathy required a rigorous course of study. From the 1956 catalog: "The Doctor of Naturopathy (R.N.D.) 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."
I put this historic aside in because in recent years a number of people who have taken short correspondence courses in natural health have begun practicing in Colorado as "Naturopathic Doctors" yet do not meet any of the traditional standards of education for the profession that have been accepted for almost 80 years.
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 educational requirements and 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
After Sunset Review in 2017, the title for ND’s in Colorado was changed to RND to designate registered Naturopathic doctors. There was concern from the medical community that ND would easily be confused by the public as MD.
Legislation to restore the nationally recognized ND title failed in the 2018 legislative session.
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 in Colorado.
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).