When considering which route to go for treatment, it is important to understand that both aspects of medicine have their place; and even more important to understand which methodologies you believe in when choosing care. Naturopaths and Medical Doctors represent two different sides of the medical spectrum, both go through extensive schooling to treat, both are practicing Doctors, but what is the difference?
Naturopathic Doctor (ND), Medical Doctor (MD)
The chart above was posted by the AANMC, which accredits Medical Colleges, it provides a fair comparison of the education these practitioners go through as well as their clinical experience prior to becoming certified NDs or MDs.
Naturopaths (NDs): Will approach care holistically and comprehensively looking at the body as a whole, typically ruling out and treating the underlying cause to a condition rather than treating the resulting symptoms. The emphasis is on a whole-wellness approach; typically these Doctors will specialize in the types of diseases that are failed by the conventional world, such as Lyme. While many MDs may be going through surgery rounds in a residency, NDs may be learning more about herbal medicines, advanced nutritional principals, pharmacology, and other progressive treatments. It is not to say that NDs do no go on to specialize, as many do, but if your beliefs fall under a strong collaboration of the entire body then a Naturopath may be the better fit.
Medical Doctors (MDs): Have a strong base in science as Naturopaths do, as you can see their schooling is very similar, but their schooling will focus more on conventional care, pharmacology, treating the symptoms at hand, emergency care and may not have the full time/practice laws to look deeper at the underlying cause to the symptoms. MDs will go through more clinical experience and residencies after graduation to become accredited Physicians.
*If you would like to learn more about the State Licensure for Homeopathic Physicians, attached is a very informative publishing from 2010 that explains it nicely.