top of page

Our History

      The California Naturopathic Association dates its roots back to the Association of Naturopaths of California, a private organization incorporated in 1904 who oversaw the practice of Naturopathy for the Medical Board of California. These original Naturopaths(Traditionals) used no drugs or surgery in practice and were certified with the Medical Board as "Doctors of Naturopathy".  Our current organization was founded in 1993 as the official state voice for the practice of Naturopathy. We did this in response to a splinter group which organized an integrative approach to Naturopathy, also known as"Naturopathic Medicine".  Though the group seemed poised on rebranding the profession, the CNA prevailed and Naturopathy is alive and thriving.

History of Naturopathy in California

  • 1909-1913 a six month period was established during which the Board of Medical Examiners would endorse a properly validated certificate issued by the Association of Naturopaths of California bearing the title, "Doctor of Naturopathy" (This was not a license). This endorsement lasted 5 years and was ended in 1913. The  core values and tenants of this first naturopathic association would mold the California Naturopathic Association almost a century later.

  • 1923-Milsap Vs. Alderson affirmed the scope of practice of a Naturopath as follows, the court found that the Legislature, in its 1909 amendment to the Medical Practice Act, gave official recognition to the Association of Naturopaths of California, and at pages 526-527 looked to the articles of incorporation of that organization to find that naturopathy involved treatment of the sick and afflicted by “light, air, water, clay, heat, besides rest, diet, herbs, electricity, massage, Swedish movements, suggestive therapeutics, chiropractic, magnetism, physical and mental culture.

  • 1943- Dare v. Board of Medical Examiners ruled that Naturopathy was a drugless practice of treating the sick. That the suffix "N.D." meant "Doctor of Naturopathy" and that Naturopathy could be practiced by those issued a certificate from 1909-1913. 

  • 1952- Osterveen V. Board of Medical Examiners ruled that one need not be licensed as a Naturopath or Doctor of Naturopathy to use "Naturopathic Methods" or modalities. Any licensed health professional, such as Chiropractors, Medical Doctors or even Drugless Practitioners could use Naturopathic Methods as long as they did not hold themselves out as a certified "Dr." or "N.D." By this time the court affirmed the medical board had record of only 13 certified Doctors of Naturopathy left. Only these could use the "Dr." and "N.D." title bestowed by the Association of Naturopaths in association with the practice of  Naturopathy.

  • 1993- The California Naturopathic Association is formed to advocate for the practice of Naturopathy and defend against attempts of rebranding from the Naturopathic Medicine fraction group which also incorporated in 1993.

  • 2001 CNA was instrumental in the passing the Alternative and Complementary Health Care Act alongside the California Health Freedom Coalition. This act allowed for the practice of all alternative healthcare systems such as Naturopathy and Homeopathy as long as provisions were met such as a waiver. This act was the second time in California history that Naturopaths could legally practice Naturopathy and use their earned titles. 

  • In 2003 the Naturopathic Doctors Act was passed. The Naturopathic Medical splinter group lobbied for a bill to practice a more invasive form of treatments which was not allowed by the Alternative and Complementary Health Care Act. This new system was known as Naturopathic Medicine.  This was the first time in Californiam History that the term "Naturoapthic Medicine" was recognized.Though the legislature agreed to license Naturopathic Medicine and their Doctors, The CNA was successful in ammending the act to code Naturopathy and define it as different from Naturopathic Medicine.The CNA was also successful in reserving the titles of “naturopath,” traditional naturopath,” and naturopathic practitioner,” so as those titles remain for individuals educated and trained in Naturopathy.We embrace this responsibility and obligation so as to nurture this practice for future generations.

"Naturopathy is a science-the Mother Science of maintaining health, relieving suffering, eliminating disease and restoring normal health without injury to the organism, and without resource to drugs or surgery." - Benedict Lust. Naturopathy & Herald 1937

bottom of page