About Naturopathic Medicine
What is naturopathic medicine?
Naturopathic Medicine is a primary health care model that blends modern science with traditional and natural forms of healing. We believe in treating the whole person, not just the disease, and identifying and treating the root cause of ailments, rather than simply suppressing symptoms.
Naturopathic doctors believe that nature has inherent healing powers and that we must work alongside the healing power of nature in order to obtain optimal health. We believe in treating imbalances to health, not just waiting for the body to enter a diseased state. No two patients are equals and therefore treatment involves a thorough work-up, and lots of detective work to get to the root of symptoms.
We work in collaboration with our patients and believe in educating and empowering our patients to lead the healthiest and happiest lives possible.
How do naturopathic doctors treat their patients?
Naturopathic doctors have a variety of natural healing modalities in our treatment toolboxes. These modalities include, but are not limited to, homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, lifestyle counselling, psychological counselling, hydrotherapy and physical medicine.
What education do naturopathic doctors have?
Most naturopathic doctors have completed 8 years of post-secondary studies; NDs must have completed a 4-year undergraduate degree in the sciences in addition to the naturopathic doctor program, an intensive 4-year program from an accredited college that includes more than 1200 hours of clinical experience and involves more than 3000 hours of classroom training. The program covers three major areas of study: biomedical sciences, clinical sciences and naturopathic therapeutics. We have training in conventional medicine – diagnostics, labs, history taking and physical exams – as well as traditional medicine and natural therapies.
Completion of the ND program requires a 12 month internship in 4th year and completion of two regulatory licencing exams (NPLEX 1 and 2) after 2nd and 4th year as well as a board exam.
The Associations of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) has published an informative article comparing the training of naturopathic and medical doctors: Comparing ND & MD Curricula.
Are naturopathic doctors regulated?
On July 1st, naturopathic medicine became a regulated profession under the Regulated Health Professionals Act. Ontario naturopathic doctors are regulated with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario along with physicians, surgeons, nurses and other regulated health professionals in Ontario.
Does naturopathic medicine work?
Naturopathic doctors combine Evidenced Based Medicine (EBM), using scientific research, with traditional healing methods to guide our clinical-decision-making. The number of studies in major scientific journals that demonstrate the efficacy of naturopathic therapies is steadily increasing as naturopathic medicine gains traction in the medical world. The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine is a powerful research institution, conducting a number of studies on the efficacy of natural therapies. In addition, the growing popularity of natural medicine and its integration into mainstream medicine provide indication of its benefit for providing patients with results. For more information, read this blog post about naturopathic medicine myth-busting: Destroying Myths About Naturopathic Medicine.
Can I see a naturopathic doctor in addition to my medical doctor?
Yes. Naturopathic doctors are trained in conventional medicine: biological and clinical sciences, diagnostics, labs, physical exams and history taking. Studies have shown that integrating naturopathic medicine with mainstream medicine leads to better patient outcomes. For more, see the article 7 Reasons for MDs to Collaborate with NDs.
Who should see a naturopathic doctor?
Buying into naturopathic medicine requires identity with a particular value system. You believe that good health is the foundation of a good life; without good health, nothing in life is easy. You believe that health is more than just the absence of disease. You believe in disease prevention and that the way we live can affect how we look, think and feel. You believe that you are ultimately responsible for you own health and look for ways to empower yourself to be informed, seeking out healthcare practitioners that will help guide you towards achieving your health goals, not just managing illness or covering up symptoms. Most of all, you are hopeful. You have hope that there is another way to feel healthier and live the life you know you deserve. To see a list of health conditions that I have treated, click here.
What is the philosophy of naturopathic medicine?
Naturopathic doctors are guided by 6 fundamental principles:
1) First, to do no harm, by using methods and medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effects.
2) To treat the causes of disease, by identifying and removing the underlying causes of illness, rather than suppressing symptoms.
3) To teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine, by sharing knowledge with patients and encouraging individual responsibility for health.
4) To heal the whole person through individualized treatment, by understanding the unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors that contribute to illness, and customizing treatment protocols to the patient.
5) To emphasize prevention, by partnering with the patient to assess risk factors and recommend appropriate naturopathic interventions to maintain health and prevent illness.
6) To support the healing power of nature, by recognizing and removing obstacles to the body’s inherent self-healing process.