FAQs

WHAT IS NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE?

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care that addresses the root causes of illness and promotes health and healing using natural therapies. Naturopathic physicians integrate standard medical diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies.

WHAT EDUCATION AND TRAINING DO NATUROPATHIC DOCTORS HAVE?

Naturopathic physicians have a minimum of 8 years post-secondary education including:

  • At least 4 years of university including prerequisites in biology, psychology, English, general chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry. Naturopathic physicians must complete an undergraduate degree in the sciences before entering medical school.
  • Four years of naturopathic medical education from one of six recognized schools in North America. These schools are carefully regulated to ensure a high quality, standardized education. The education required to become a licensed naturopathic doctor is rigorous and includes four intense years of theoretical learning and clinical training. Upon completion of this education, naturopathic physicians are qualified to work as primary care physicians.
  • Academics – 4000 classroom hours divided amongst:
  • Health Sciences – much like the curriculum at a conventional medical school, the first two years of naturopathic medicine are spent gaining an in-depth understanding of physiology, biochemistry, anatomy, pathology, microbiology, neuroanatomy, physical clinical diagnosis, differential diagnosis, laboratory diagnosis and diagnostic imaging.
  • Therapeutic Modalities – throughout the four years there are courses in botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, homeopathy, psychology, drug therapies, Traditional Oriental Medicine, laboratory diagnosis, clinical diagnosis, and physical medicine.
  • Clinical Sciences – building on the foundation of basic medical sciences, third and fourth year students take courses necessary to be a primary care physician such as pharmacology, dermatology, environmental medicine, gynecology, oncology, obstetrics, pediatrics and geriatrics.
  • Professional Development – this includes courses in ethics, personal wholeness, jurisprudence and practice management.
  • Clinical Training – 1200 hours in the teaching clinic, treating patients under the supervision of a licensed naturopathic physician and a 300 hour preceptorship with naturopathic doctors in their own offices.
  • Board Exams: North American Board Exams are taken after both the 2nd year and 4th year, and state exams are performed on their completion.
  • Prescribing Authority: additional training and examination is required to receive prescribing rights, which are on par with that of a family physician with the exception of specialized medication (i.e. chemotherapeutic drugs, narcotics, benzodiazepines, and anti-psychotics).

HOW ARE NATUROPATHIC DOCTORS REGULATED?

To be licensed to practice naturopathic medicine you must:

  • Have completed at least 4 years of liberal arts or sciences at a university.
  • Have graduated from an accredited naturopathic medical school. There are currently four such schools in the United States and two in Canada.
  • Have successfully completed rigorous national board examinations.
  • Have your application accepted by the Department of Public Health and the State Board of Naturopathic Examiners.

WHAT DISEASES DO NATUROPATHIC DOCTORS TREAT?

Naturopathic doctors treat people rather than diseases. There is no cookbook protocol or magic natural bullet that will cure all IBS, osteoarthritis or cancer because everyone is an individual with different factors that need to be addressed. The specific therapies prescribed are targeted at removing a person’s unique obstructions to healing and adding things that promote optimal health. This treatment approach can be applied to anyone who would like to improve his or her health.

WHEN WOULD SOMEONE GO TO A NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR?

Naturopathic doctors are unique in health care because their training combines conventional medical sciences and diagnostic tools with a broad scope of therapies. The ability to integrate different philosophies and practices gives us many tools to work with. This allows greater flexibility and creativity when approaching complex subjects like health and disease.  Common reasons people visit a naturopathic doctor:

  • they experience a major health crisis and want to explore their treatment options
  • they are fed up with being sick or in pain
  • they are overwhelmed by the growing mountain of health products they think they should be taking and want a professional to help them prioritize
  • they want a comprehensive disease prevention program
  • they choose to have a naturopathic doctor as their family doctor.
  • I encourage people to see an ND before their health is in crisis. Minor health problems are symptoms of imbalance – a warning sign from your body that it is not functioning as well as it could. The earlier you address a health concern, the easier it is to treat.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NATUROPATHY AND HOMEOPATHY?

Homeopathy is a specific system of medicine that uses diluted potencies of natural substances to stimulate the body to heal itself.

Naturopathy is a medical practice that integrates a wide variety of therapies, including homeopathy, to treat the cause of an individual’s symptoms.

DO YOU WORK WITH OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS?

Quality health care involves teamwork and communication. I refer patients to other professionals when I feel their experience or training would be beneficial and I am happy to work with your other health care providers at your request.

Because naturopathic medicine has so many tools, your treatment can be individualized to complement other therapies you may be receiving. An example of complementary medicine is pre and post surgical support to help reduce your chance of complications and help you heal faster.  It is important to recognize that all systems of medicine have their strengths and weaknesses. During a life-threatening event, like a major trauma or meningitis, there is no question that conventional medicine has powerful tools and resources that will save your life.

Specialists like oncologists, endocrinologists or gynecologists, have a focused body of knowledge that allows them to be experts in a specific area of medicine. Similarly, doctors of Chinese medicine, chiropractors and medical herbalists, are all trained to be experts in their chosen philosophy and therapy. Naturopathic doctors are trained to be primary care doctors that can integrate a number of different philosophies and therapies. By understanding both conventional and alternative treatments, we can help our patients combine the best of both worlds.

When you get the Wellness Without Limits e-book, you'll discover:

How Naturopathic medicine is uniquely capable of transforming your health and life

How Naturopathic medicine is uniquely capable of transforming your health and life.

The intimate connection between your emotions, beliefs, and health challenges.

The intimate connection between your emotions, beliefs, and health challenges.

How our unique approach can help your specific health issues

How our unique approach can help your specific health issues.