Holistic Practitioner Rights

Holistic Practitioner Rights

On Your Right to Practice

Holistic health practitioners and herbalists of all kinds are protected by their right to free speech from the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Such individuals are free to educate clients on how to use health foods, meditation practices, and lifestyle changes, including the use of herbal remedies and natural protocols for their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.

Of course, obviously it is illegal for holistic medicine practitioners to practice conventional medicine, which includes to treat disease, diagnose medical conditions, prescribe pharmaceutical drugs or claim to ‘cure’.

Of course there’s always the occasional crazy person who studies natural medicine and pretends to be a medical doctor, but that’s one of the reasons we screen all applicants to our school. 

If you reside in the United States, and most other countries, you can practice holistic medicine like iridology, herbalism, and traditional naturopathy without a license or certification, and you can legally charge for your services as a holistic practitioner in any speciality, whether that’s iridology, herbalism, spiritual medicine, etc. You are not required to ‘go to school’ first —but it sure helps! 

ND vs. TND vs. CHHP

ND vs. TND vs. CHHP


Since our inception, Rockwell was the first school to use the terminology of  ‘traditional’ naturopathic doctor (TND) as a replacement for naturopathic doctor (ND) to avoid confusion or liability in states that license naturopathic physicians a.k.a. NDs. 

Other educational providers, like Trinity School of Natural Health soon followed suit, disbanding their old ND program completely in lieu of concerns about legal issues since licensing naturopaths has become a thing in some states. Update: Trinity has no reinstated their naturopath program as ‘traditional’, like we did years ago. 

We can only speculate that this was a legal issue for Trinity, because their traditional naturopath grads were using ‘ND’, a few which have infamously made the news on more than one occasion resulting in the school being heavily criticized for allowing their students to use ‘ND’ as a professional designation, even though it had been taken over by licensed naturopathy for over a decade. 

Therefore, in states where licensed or traditional naturopathy is restricted, it is common for our graduates to use CHHP, which stands for a “Certified Holistic Health Practitioner”.

We have a lot of resources on our TND and RTD FAQ pages that can help you learn more about your rights and regulations, as well as the laws in your state. You can also read more about state rights for naturopaths here

We encourage and allow students to adopt this title at their discretion and/or if they reside in any one of the few states where the practice of naturopathy is limited and/or restricted.

However, keep in mind, use of the professional title Traditional Naturopathic Doctor is perfectly legitimate in most states across the country (USA).

With that being said, and in the case of Rockwell, our use of the term “certified” means we certify that the graduate has completed our educational requirements, which are numerous indeed.

The public may at anytime call and verify a graduate who gets their own unique graduate ID #. 

Please visit this page to learn more about certification as it relates to alternative medicine.

Naturopathy Abroad

These same restrictions concerning naturopathic licensing do not usually apply to our international students abroad where licensing is not offered to naturopathic physicians.

Most people all over the world are free to practice naturopathy without restriction assuming responsible practice (see Benchmarks in Training for Traditional Naturopathy by the World Health Organization here).

The bottom line with all of this is that when it comes to holistic medicine education or alternative career paths, there is no governing body of any kind. Therefore there is no true certification. Which also means, no educational oversight, so students should choose the school that resonates best with them and their ideas of what a holistic medicine school should be.

Board Certification for Holistic Medicine Practitioners

Board Certification for Holistic Medicine Practitioners

Board Certification Providers for Holistic Health Practitioners & Some Interesting Facts

There are a few things people generally do not know about board certification.

First of all, board certification is optional for both holistic medicine practitioners and licensed medical professionals.  

The use of board certification generally is used to set certain standards of practice within one’s industry.

While the alternative form of board certification for holistic health practitioners is not required, holistic health practitioners of all types generally agree board certification helps them ‘appear’ more professional to the public eye.

They feel a board certification lends them credibility in their community.

You may notice, however, that more herbalists register with the American Herbalist Guild (AHG) and become members of the American Botanical Society. 

Whereas, those geared towards being holistic health practitioners, such as traditional naturopaths, usually opt for industry board certification.

Holistic health practitioners may acquire board certification through the ANMCB (American Naturopathic Certification Medical Board, the ANCB (American Naturopathic Certification Board), or the American Association for Drugless Practitioners.

Additionally, herbalists of all types can become a ‘registered herbalist’ (RH), with the AHG (American Herbalist Guild).


The ANCB offers naturopathy, nutrition, and herbal board certification. Their cost is $495, which includes an extensive study guide, practice test, and suggested reading.

Board certification from ANCB is good for one year. Renewal cost is $75 and requires proof of 10 CEU (continuing education units/credits). 

The ANCB offers a live, in person, supervised board-certification exam by proctor where someone travels to oversee test administration.

Students are given 2 opportunities to retake any section of the test they fail at, for no additional cost.


An ANMCB Board Certification application packet can be found on their website where you may submit an application with all the required documents.

Upon receipt, the Board will review the application and then send an ANMCB Study Guide for the exam. The study guide provides an overview of the exam.

ANMCB applications need to be submitted 30 days prior to the exam date. 

The ANMCB usually offers the option to apply for board certification and simultaneously become a member of the American Naturopathic Medical Association (ANMA), which provides entrance into the ANMA Convention.

This is offered at $900 which is a discount of $245. If only board certification is desired, then the cost is $695.

Upon approval, the board certification is current for one year.

To maintain the board certification, there is a renewal fee of $150 and 20 CEU required to be submitted annually.

The ANMCB Exam is given in August each year, during the American Naturopathic Medical Association’s Annual Convention.

The ANMCB Exam can also be given by a proctoring service in your local area for those who can not travel to their live exam. There is an additional $100 cost to have the ANMCB Exam to be given by proctor.


The most affordable and lowest bar of entry is probably the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, which offers board certification for $285.00 and an annual renewal fee of $150.

There is NO test! Some people prefer a test, others don’t mind. 

Board Certification for Conventional Medical Doctors (Licensed Physicians)

Physicians fresh out of med school usually attend residency or fellowship which focuses on preparing for board certification.

Board certification for physicians allows a 3rd party to verify skillsets and requires a certain amount of ‘competency hours’. I think it’s really important and shows that they are able to do what they claim. 

Few people know how much work physicians put into their education and how much time and expense it takes to acquire and keep board certification.

The process carries with it heavy continuing education requirements. It can really make a difference in the traffic a physician sees to their practice.

This is because some people simply refuse to see a physician who is not ‘board certified’ by a prominent organization that represents their medical speciality.

Although, to be clear, primary care and general practice doctors also participate in board certification. 

In any case, some licensed medical doctors get ongoing board certification early in their career, just out of fellowship or residency.

Those who let it drop off after that have usually established their patient base or are close to retirement.

Others are simply exasperated of the time and expense required to maintain board certification, year after year.

Others have a natural passion that pushes them to enjoy continuing education and board certification. 

Some choose to maintain it because it affords them the opportunity to learn about new trends in their area of expertise. 

In Conclusion

We appreciate all of the above organizations and the work they do because they each provide educational resources and usually lobby for medical freedom in some way. 

Did you enjoy this article or find it helpful? If so, pease share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Conventional Medicine: 3rd Leading Cause of Death

Conventional Medicine: 3rd Leading Cause of Death

Did you know….

We acknowledge the challenges of modern medicine and have compassion on all healthcare workers.

Medical malpractice in the above infographic is a complicated subject that takes us down another rabbit hole of the pharmaceutical based, inhumane, overpriced education that med students go through in order to become doctors. 

We suspect these issues relate to why conventional medical doctors have the highest suicide rate of any other profession in the United States.

We also believe it must be some kind of reflection of the poor conditions and pressure these individuals face in their superficial, rigid, dogmatic education controlled by the American Medical Association.

We believe licensed medical doctors deserve compassion as they sacrifice so much for their profession.

They are often misguided themselves and disillusioned about the actual expectations of residency and med school.

People think they have it easy but they don’t know the reality that is very, very sad.

Few readers realize that doctors in residency work 80-120 hours per week, often sleeping in the hospitals where they work, more often than not at the neglect of their own health and to the detriment of relationships with their loved ones.

Constantly being on call is not a stress-free way to live. Conventional medical doctors also have a lot of expenses.

Click here for the Interview with Martin Makary

For further reading, we suggest the following:

Jama State of Health in the United States

The 3rd Leading Cause of Death Will Surprise You

The Importance of Documentation in Healthcare

Warning Medical School May Kill Your Child

WHO Naturopathic Benchmarks

WHO Naturopathic Benchmarks

According to the World Health Organization’s Benchmark for Training in Naturopathy (meaning traditional naturopathy), these alternative healthcare options dominate across the globe where conventional medical doctors are not widely available.

We are proud to say that with the exception of clinical hours, Rockwell exceeds these academic standards. We also believe that students can get clinical hours caring for themselves and their family members.

See below to read the benchmarks yourself!

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