Naturopathic Medicine Overview
How are we different than your Medical Doctor?
First off, we believe the future of medicine is Naturopathic Doctors and Medical Doctors working together for optimal wellness. We both play a vital role in healthcare and choosing to work with us does not mean you stop seeing your Medical Doctor (although we hope we help you see them less).
The main difference between us and your Medical Doctor is simply how we think. Your Medical Doctor is a diagnostician. He/She is interested in symptoms to diagnose a condition and then is able to use a pharmaceutical drug or surgery to remove the problem. Naturopathic Doctors are more interested in the physiology of your body (how your body is working as a whole). We look at symptoms as clues that a body system is out of balance. Using natural remedies and lifestyle changes we can support your body to heal itself. We believe the body is smart and has the ability to bring itself into balance, but sometimes it simply needs a little nudge.
Naturopathic Medicine (the Technical Version)
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. It supports your body’s own healing ability using an integrated approach to disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention that includes:
- Acupuncture/Asian medicine
- Botanical medicine
- Physical medicine (massage, hydrotherapy, etc.)
- Clinical nutrition
- Homeopathic medicine
- Lifestyle counselling
Naturopathic doctors practice as primary care providers with an emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. They are guided by six fundamental healing principles:
- First, to do no harm, by using methods and medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effects.
- To treat the causes of disease, by identifying and removing the underlying causes of illness, rather than suppressing symptoms.
- 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.
- To teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine, by sharing knowledge with patients and encouraging individual responsibility for health.
- To emphasize prevention, by partnering with the patient to assess risk factors and recommend appropriate naturopathic interventions to maintain health and prevent illness.
- To support the healing power of the body, by recognizing and removing obstacles to the body’s inherent self-healing process.
Naturopathic doctors obtain comprehensive training in a structure similar to medical doctors and have a minimum of 7 years of post-secondary education. They first obtain an undergraduate university degree and then study 4 years of naturopathic medicine at an accredited college. In Canada there are two accredited programs; Toronto has The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) and Vancouver has The Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine. Naturopathic doctors then must successfully pass 2 phases of Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX), a standardized examination used by all regulated provinces and states across North America.
As of July 1, 2015, Naturopathic Doctors joined a community of over 2000,000 health care professionals regulated under the Regulated Health Care Professions Act, 1991, and more specifically, The Naturopathy Act, 2007. The College of Naturopaths of Ontario is the regulatory body for the profession and act in the interest of the public.
The Naturopathy Act confirms the current scope of NDs as primary care practitioners who are able to provide diagnoses and have access to key controlled acts.