Page last updated 10 Oct 2023
It is illegal for a naturopath to practice medicine in the state of North Carolina (see Scope of Practice, below). Please report any naturopath practicing medicine to the medical board and attorney general (see How to file complaint, below).
Want to get involved?
Contact your North Carolina Senate and Assembly representatives and voice your opposition to legitimizing the practice of naturopathy.
Not sure what to say? Check out these tips for speaking with lawmakers from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Sign the petition Naturopaths are not doctors: stop legitimizing pseudoscience
Scope of Practice
Naturopaths are not registered or licensed in North Carolina.
The practice of medicine is defined in Sec. 90-1.1(5)b.,N.C. Gen. Stat., as ” Offering or undertaking to prevent or diagnose, correct, prescribe for, administer to, or treat in any manner or by any means, methods, or devices any disease, illness, pain, wound, fracture, infirmity, defect, or abnormal physical or mental condition of any individual, including the management of pregnancy or parturition.” Per Sec. 90-18(a), an unlicensed person practicing medicine is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Senate Bill 513 North Carolina Healing Arts Act, passed the Senate. This act would have established naturopaths as a healing arts profession, licensed naturopaths, and defined a scope of practice including the diagnosis of treatment of disease. From the bill summary: “Part 4 of the new Article makes it State policy to consider naturopathic medicine as a healing arts profession. Defines naturopathic medicine as a system of natural health care that employs diagnosis and treatment using diagnostic techniques and natural therapies for the promotion, maintenance, and restoration of health and the prevention of disease, including all of the following: the administration or provision of any of the following for preventive and therapeutic purposes: natural medicines, natural therapies, natural topical medicines, hydrotherapy, dietary therapy, and naturopathic 13 physical medicine; the use of diagnostic procedures, including physical and orificial examination, but excluding endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy; and the ordering, performing, and interpretation of laboratory tests and diagnostic imaging.”
Senate Bill 258 Naturopathic Doctors Certification Act failed. The act would have established certification and education standards for the practice of naturopathic medicine. Naturopaths would have been allowed to diagnose and treat disease, order diagnostic exams and blood work, perform minor surgery, and administer substances orally, rectally, vaginally, and transdermally. Would have allowed naturopaths to call themselves doctors. Would have established a naturopathic board consisting of naturopaths, physicians, and a public member. Certification is essentially the same as licensing. Sponsored by Senators Joyce Krawiec, Jerry W. Tillman, and Tommy Tucker.
House Bill 277 passed, establishing work group to study oversight and regulation of naturopathic practice. Sponsored by Representatives John Faircloth, Rena W. Turner, Gregory F. Murphy, and Stephen M. Ross.
Information courtesy of Society for Science-Based Medicine.
Companion bills for the Naturopathic Doctors Licensing Act, HB 913 and SB 118, were introduced.
How to file a complaint
Physicians are regulated by the North Carolina Medical Board. Anyone can file a complaint against a naturopath practicing medicine without a license. Additional information and an online complaint form can be found on the board’s website. Download complaint form.
Additionally, you may file a complaint online with the attorney general.