Naturopathic medicine has been a distinct American health care profession for over 100 years. In the late 1800s, practitioners from several medical disciplines combined to form the first naturopathic professional societies. By the early 20th century, more than 20 naturopathic medical colleges had been founded in the US, and naturopathic physicians were licensed in a majority of states. By the 1920s, naturopathic medical conventions attracted more than 10,000 practitioners.

Naturopathic medicine experienced a decline in the middle of the 20th century with the rise of technological medicine, pharmaceutical drugs and the "quick fix" idea that drugs and surgery could eliminate all diseases. Over the last three decades, however, a health conscious public has increasingly sought alternatives to conventional medical philosophy.

The naturopathic profession is committed to ongoing scientific research and development. Today's practitioners add to the growing body of research by incorporating modern scientific methods that expand the understanding of the mechanisms of natural healing and therapeutics. Ongoing research in immunology, diagnosis, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, psychology and other clinical sciences contribute to the development of naturopathic medicine.