The Essence of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic medicine is a system of health care using natural therapies and methods to encourage your body’s ability to heal itself. Naturopathic doctors are trained in core clinical methods including botanical medicine, acupuncture and Asian medicine, homeopathy, injection, intravenous therapies, clinical nutrition and supplementation, as well as counselling and lifestyle coaching- all to help your body heal naturally.
Our Guiding Principles
Our medical philosophy is based on 6 principles:
- First, do no harm
- Treat the root cause of illness or disease
- Treat the whole person
- Use nature and your body’s capabilities to heal itself
- Empower patients through education
- Be proactive by emphasizing prevention
Is Naturopathic Medicine Covered by Alberta Health or My Benefits?
Naturopathic medicine is unfortunately not currently covered by standard health plans in Alberta; however, most extended health care plans do cover visits to a Naturopathic Doctor.
You can call your insurance provider to find out what’s covered in your plan (or talk to your HR rep), or call us at the clinic for more information, we’re glad to help!
Do Naturopathic Doctors Specialize?
Naturopathic doctors are highly trained and often have specific areas of focus. ‘Specialize’ and ‘specialty’ are terms reserved for medical doctors within specific fields, like family medicine or psychiatry. There currently aren’t any specialty-level education programs for Naturopathic Doctors, but many NDs take additional training in a specific focus after graduation.
My absolute favourite area of Medicine is Environmental Medicine (as you may have noticed), and I have attended conferences, taken extra training and am a part of a number of Naturopathic Environmental Medicine groups! While I don’t have a speciality in Environmental Medicine, it’s definitely a big part of my practice.
Can Naturopathic Doctors Prescribe Medication?
In Alberta, although a prescribing course is required as part of our application to the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta, we DO NOT have prescribing rights currently. They may be a possibility in the future, but currently we rely on non-prescription options for our patients.
In Ontario, British Columbia and some states in the USA, Naturopathic Doctors who have taken additional licensing exams are indeed able to prescribe certain medications. The common medications, like antibiotics, are within their scope, but federally controlled medications like narcotics, benzodiazepines, and chemotherapeutic agents are not.
Your First Appointment
In your first appointment, we’ll spend an hour together and take a detailed look into your current concerns and health history and ask about everything from stress and energy levels, to mood, digestion and sleep. We’ll do a bit of a physical exam depending on what’s going on for you, and we might also order some diagnostic tests if required. By the end of your first appointment, we’ll have put together a comprehensive treatment plan to get you feeling better faster!
What’s In It For You?
NDs are highly trained, compassionate health care providers who use holistic and natural methods to help you reach health goals. We have a refreshing understanding of how the body works and why illnesses happen. It’s a two way street so for all the talking we do, we listen when you have things to ask and say! We care about your physical, mental, and emotional well being. And if you have any health concern, we can treat it or make sure we find someone for you who can if your concern isn’t in our practice focus.
Is an ND the same as an MD?
Naturopathic doctors and medical doctors receive similar levels of training in school when it comes to basic medical sciences. The main difference between the two systems of medicine is the way we think about things: conventional medicine often views symptoms as something to suppress, while we often view symptoms as a sign that the root cause needs to be identified and treated.
Do Naturopathic Doctors do residencies?
At this time in the profession, residencies are fairly few and far between. Naturopathic Doctors graduate with the training and skills necessary to work safely and effectively in general practice. Some NDs go on to one-year residencies where they hone their skills, but many start practice right away.
Do I need a referral to see an ND?
Not at all! We are primary care providers, so walk on in with any concern like you’re seeing your family doctor!
What Is The Difference Between a Homeopath and a Naturopathic Doctor?
Homeopaths are trained in the prescribing of homeopathic remedies. Naturopathic Doctors may prescribe homeopathic remedies but they also use and are trained in physical medicine, hydrotherapy, clinical nutrition, supplementation, B12 injections and IVs, lifestyle modifications, Asian medicine, acupuncture, and botanical medicine. We’re like a one-stop shop!
Are Naturopathic Doctors Real Doctors?
As Naturopathic Doctors, we are regulated by the Government of Alberta, and we assess and diagnose you as any medical doctor would however we treat differently, using natural means. So yes, we are definitely real Doctors!