What is naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a traditional health care system that uses natural therapies to stimulate the body’s innate ability to heal and rebalance itself.  It is a historical system of medicine that concentrates on looking at the individual as a whole, and how one part of the body affects another.  A naturopathic physician places a lot of emphasis on prevention and self-care and much of our appointments together are based on empowering the individual through education.
The medicine we use is research-based and/or has been used in traditional cultures for thousands of years.   The aim of naturopathic medicine is to determine the root cause of any acute or chronic condition rather than solely focusing on symptomatic treatment.  As naturopathic physicians, we aim to address the physical, mental, emotional, environmental, and spiritual aspects of health in order to identify and treat the root cause of illness.

An entertaining read about what naturopathic medicine is (and isn’t!) in the Huffington Post.

What do naturopathic doctors treat?

Naturopathic doctors are trained to treat all health concerns from acute to chronic, pediatric to geriatric and physical to psychological.  The human body has an innate ability to heal itself once obstacles are successfully removed; naturopathic medicine naturally and safely encourages this process.

Is naturopathic medicine right for me?

Naturopathic physicians excel at treating patients who are interested in disease prevention and optimizing their current state of health.  If you have a range of health concerns and no clear diagnosis (e.g. fatigue, depression, pain, inability to lose weight, foggy-thinking, bad skin, etc.) or you are suffering from a chronic illness and are searching for additional or alternative solutions, naturopathic medicine can make a huge difference to your health issues and quality of life.  Naturopathic doctors also treat patients who want to maximize the effectiveness but minimize the side effects of drugs, surgery or other conventional treatments.

What training do naturopathic physicians receive?

They are required to complete at least three years of pre-medical studies before successfully graduating from a four-year program at an accredited naturopathic medical school.  This training includes more than 4,500 classroom and 1,500 clinical hours.  They are trained as primary care providers, meaning they are qualified to run laboratory tests, perform physical exams, diagnose, and treat all health conditions.  Compare the training of conventional medical and naturopathic doctors here.

Is naturopathic medicine covered by MSP?

Naturopathic medical services are covered by most extended medical plans; it is best to contact your employer or health insurance provider to find out the scope of your coverage and to request that your policy be extended to include naturopathic services if it does not already do so. For those receiving Premium Assistance from the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP), a portion of the visit will be covered.

Can I visit both a naturopathic doctor (ND) and a medical doctor (MD)?

Yes.  Naturopathic and medical doctors often collaborate when a patient is under their care, allowing the patient to receive the best treatment possible.

Do I need a referral to make an appointment?

No referral is necessary to make an appointment with a naturopathic doctor.