Interested in Naturopathic Medicine, Homeopathy, Bowen Therapy or the Neuroemotional Technique?

As the profile of Naturopathic Medicine in North America has been on the rise in recent years, I have increasingly been contacted by prospective Naturopathic Medical students who are interested frank feedback on my education and career as a Naturopathic Doctor in Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver & Port Coquitlam.

In fact, just this week, I received emails from three different individuals who, despite hailing each from different continents, all posed near-identical reiterations of this basic question.

When synchronicity blugeons me on the head like this, I can't help but take notice. :)

So, without further adieu, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing a Naturopathic Medical career in the Greater Vancouver region of BC.

Lets start with some pros.

In short, my experience as a naturopath in the GVRD has been very rewarding thus far.

I mean that primarily in an emotional and spiritual sense, although this profession can no doubt be financially lucrative.

Of course, the value of doing something for which you have a passion cannot be underestimated, and certainly cannot be properly in mere dollars and cents.

On the other hand, there have naturally been downsides as well.

For instance, after completing my undergraduate Systems Engineering degree, I was fortunate enough to be accepted to both naturopathic (ND) and conventional allopathic (MD) medical schools.

While that doesn't sound like much of a downside, you'll see what I'm getting at soon! :)

I chose the former because, after having just left the cold, analytical world of engineering, I was careful to avoid thrusting myself back into another rigidly-mechanistic and numbingly-clinical program.

The scope of education at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine was certainly well-rounded enough to allow for training in somewhat non-clinical or alternative disciplines, such as electrotherapy and exercise rehabilitation training.

Additionally, the inclusion of the naturopathic core treatment disciplines:

  1. Homeopathy
  2. Botanical Medicine (Herbalism)
  3. Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM / TCM)
  4. Therapeutic Nutrition
  5. Psychological Counseling (including that of patients and their loved ones in near-death cases, or even through the death process, and cognitive behavioral therapy), and
  6. Physical Medicine (Naturopathic Physical Manipulation, similar to chiropractic, as well as Massage, Hydrotherapy, UV light, and ultrasound therapies)

gave me a plethora of useful skills that I still regularly use in my daily practice.

Nonetheless, as most graduates of the seven fully-accredited Naturopathic Medical Schools:

  1. Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
  2. Bastyr University
  3. Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
  4. National College of Natural Medicine
  5. Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
  6. University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine 
  7. National University of Health Sciences

would no doubt attest to, there's no shortage of clinical work involved in getting the ND degree! 

With extensive training in conventional clinical and biomedical sciences, such as:

  • Anatomy
  • Biomedicine
  • Biochemistry
  • Lab Diagnosis
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemical Connections
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Differential Diagnosis
  • Microbiology
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Oncology
  • Physical Clinical Diagnosis

as well as an additional post-graduate phamaceutical therapy course, I along with many of my collegues have attained sufficient training to prescribe all but the most restricted pharmaceuticals along MDs.

However, note that this does not imply that I choose to prescribe pharmaceuticals on a daily or even monthly basis.

Instead, as eloquently stated by Dr. Christoph Kind, ND, the president of the British Columbia Naturopathic Association (BCNA),

“In a sense, the ability to prescribe legitimizes the decision not to prescribe."

So, despite their seeming differences, there are many similarities between the depth, direction and focus of study in naturopathic and conventional (allopathic) medical schools alike.

This chart highlights the similarities between accredited ND and MD education - as well as the striking differences between the fully-accredited ND programs administered by the aforementioned seven schools (the leftmost two columns in the chart) and the non-accredited "ND" knockoff degrees issued in non-regulated states (the rightmost two columns).

As for my experience in my early years of practice, there were again some positives and some negatives.

One of the positives was that, by the completion of my ND degree, I had received a plethora of clinical training - over 2000 hours devoted specifically to seeing patients and making real-life treatment decisions - via the Boucher student clinic and intership.

This naturally helped to create a relatively smooth transition into the working world.

In fact, the interships I had completed presented me with job opportunities at multiple clinics on graduation.

As a result, I was able to begin part-time work between preparations for my week-long board exams, and this transitioned nicely into full-time work immediately thereafter.

On the other hand, due to the relatively low profile of NDs in North America today, as well as the degree of competition in Vancouver and, to a lesser extent, Port Coquitlam, I could not simply put out my shingle and magnetically begin attracting patients.

Admittedly, this magnetic force has become increasingly stronger in recent years.

However, I reason that has more to do with the positive word-of-mouth being spread by some of my wonderful patients than the modest increase in either Naturopathic Medicine's public image or the general demand for NDs in the GVRD, particularly in the heavily-saturated Vancouver city proper.

However, going back to the beginning of my career, I certainly could not then rely on word of mouth.

Instead, I was forced instead to wear the dual hats of physician and entrepreneur, and to manage the health of my business in tandem with that of my patients.

Despite having been well-trained for this businessman role, it was one I once long resisted, idealistically (and very stubbornly) shunning self-promotion in favour of intensive focus on patient care - which, after all, was what I became a doctor to do!

But at the end of the day, if one chooses to take the road less traveled, it's only natural that one must learn to blaze a trail.

And once that path has been cleared, the possible destinations to which it may be followed are limited only by a Naturopathic Doctor's drive, passion and imagination.

Naturopathic Medicine & Homeopathy Testimonials

Multiple car accidents caused me to have less mobility and huge pain and stiffness in my neck, face and jaw.

I'd get super dizzy every couple of days, and have to go throw up.

My lymph nodes were always swollen too, and I got throat infections much more often.

I felt so tightly wound at work and in my marriage too.

The homeopathy, bowen therapy and neuroemotional releases all made my neck relax, and the pain started to go away too.

I've been pain-free for months, and have finally been able to drive without fear again.

Amanda R, Maple Ridge / Pitt Meadows, BC

I had mono years ago, and then started getting all these immune problems - wheezing, itching, coughing up phlegm, and having really low energy levels.

And it used to feel like I was allergic to everything!

I got sicker and sicker for years before I found Andy.

His homeopathy and neuroemotional technique gradually made me feel stronger and healthier.

Now I just get infections once or twice a year, and when I do, they're not severe or debilitating at all.

Even my dyslexia and reading problems seem to have gotten better with the Bowen technique and biofeedback.

G.D., Burnaby, BC

Dr. Andy's homeopathic remedy really helped to eliminate the lichen planus I had been dealing with. My sex drive and ability to have sex without pain have also gotten much better with the homeopathy and naturopathic counselling.

T.L., Langley, BC

Andy used homeopathy and bowen technique to treat the itching, burning pimples I used to have around my mouth.

My skin was already feeling better after the treatment, and my face cleared up after a couple of weeks.

I've had the occasional pimple since then, but the homeopathy treatment always seems to make my skin clear up really quickly.

Adam B, Surrey (White Rock / South Surrey), BC

I haven't had any nerve pain, numbness or hand coldness since the Bowen therapy.

My skin and liver don't burn from the toxicity any longer, and I don't get the burning, red, itchy bumps on my face now either.

I've lost 48 pounds since the treatment started, and the signs of toxicity, like ringing in my ears, are now getting better too.

Kelly B, White Rock, BC

The cancer had made me so frustrated and slowed down.

Time was my enemy, and I had to get better.

Andy's homeopathic remedy, biofeedback and neuroemotional treatments helped my mood and bowels almost immediately.

The cancer didn't go away overnight, but began to recede gradually.

Even during this time though I could tell I was getting better.

I had more energy and motivation than I had had in 20 years.

So when the doctors told me the cancer had gone into partial remission, I wasn't surprised.

Colin Wood, Delta (Ladner), BC

My daughter was going through a horrible period of battling with anorexia, bulimia, and cycles of binging, starvation, and over-exercise.

Her electrolytes were so messed up that, even though she would try to hide it, she was having major problems with coordination and concentration.

She hadn't had periods for at least two years, her hair, teeth and nails were weak and brittle, and the doctors said that she was heading towards osteoporosis.

Dr. Andy was so compassionate and helpful, and his homeopathic remedy and mental-emotional releases seemed to make a difference almost immediately.

Even though my daughter didn't start to gain weight for a couple of weeks, I could see her brighten, relax, and open to the possibility of change.

Little by little, she started eating a little more and relaxing her rigid ideas about food.

It also helped that Dr. Andy was able to tell her what foods were good for her body.

Today, my daughter is happy, healthy, and has no more concerns about weight or body image.

Her periods are normal again too, and she doesn't even have anymore bad dreams or disturbed sleep either.

J.D., West Vancouver (British Properties), BC

I passed the stone with much less pain this time thanks to your homeopathic and neuroemotional treatment.

And I haven't had any stones since.

My muscles and sciatic nerve are not so inflammed since your Bowen technique therapy.

W.B., Maple Ridge (Haney), BC

Distance had been created between myself and my wife - in our sex life and our marriage in general - when I came to see Dr. Somody. The naturopathic counselling and homeopathic remedy quickly helped me to overcome my ejaculatory control issues. and my marriage and sex life are doing good now.

Brian C., Port Coquitlam, BC

The homeopathic remedy and neuroemotional technique cured my blisters, warts, and pustules, and I haven't had any flare-ups or outbreaks for over a year.

Andy's Bowen therapy helped my knee and hip pain a lot as well.

J.W., Delta (Ladner), BC

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