A Naturopathic Physician is a doctor who blends modern scientific medical practice and knowledge with natural and traditional forms of medical treatment. The practice is sometimes referred to complementary medicine or naturopathy. It has a long history, beginning with some of the earliest doctors who used botanical medicine, herbs and natural treatments. In the late 19th century the tradition became more formalized with the opening of the American School of Naturopathy.
With increased globalization came greater awareness of alternative and Eastern-style medicine. The established medical community viewed many of these treatments with suspicion initially, and for a time naturopaths were seen as dangerous quacks. Laws were even passed preventing their practice in many places. As modern medicine and scientific knowledge increased, however, physicians began to realize the value and credibility of the naturopathic approach, and natural medicine has been incorporated into conventional medical practice. Over the past few decades naturopathy is again evolving into its own, distinct form of medical practice. Although acceptance is growing, resistance among some members of the traditional medical community still prevails. Evidence-based research is being conducted in an effort to validate herbal remedies and alternative medicine and enhance the credibility of naturopathic practices.