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

I had a constrictive sensation in throat – like someone was pushing on it with a nail – and stabbing pain where the jaw meets the ear.

The left side of my head went numb and I had a really really loud & tinny sound in my ear.

Then I started having bursts of vertigo. Andy's homeopathic and naturopathic treatments, and all the neuro-emotional work we did, made my throat pain,  much less, and after a couple of months, they went away totally.

A.P., Richmond, BC

Thank you so much for everything!

All my eye pain and headache is gone. The most I feel is just a little tingling now and then.

Otherwise everything else is going phenomenally well in life! It just couldn’t be any better.

I also got a new job. I sent out my resume, and it was the one type of job I wanted, and it was just a good fit.

I just had a look on job searching and I just let it happen.

I’m so happy right now!

I also got accepted to a new school and I’ve already started reading the textbooks.

I’m surprised how much I’m actually absorbing. I’ve never been good at that but now I’m actually absorbing it.

And I don’t seem to have so much a problem with nuts these days.

Since the last time I've seen you, I didn't notice my stomach at all. 

Even with other people in my life I’m just been letting them know how I feel about things, instead of letting that hold me back.

It’s just phenomenal.

I look forward to my appointments with you every month!

Jenny C., Vancouver, BC

I used to have an constantly inflamed sore throat, as well as itchy, irritating skin problems.

These all got better after your homeopathic remedy and Bowen therapy.

It took a little longer for the vitiligo to respond, but it's no more than half as noticeable now than it was before.

Your neuroemotional technique and biofeedback seemed to particularly help it.

C.R., Sunshine Coast (Sechelt / Gibsons), BC

I was suicidally depressed, and had really bad sinus, head and joint pain when I came to see Andy. His homeopathic remedy and naturopathic treatment turned my life around within weeks and - more than 5 years later - I'm doing better than ever!

M.C., Vancouver (Kerrisdale), BC

I have had chronic neck pain for over twenty years which improved significantly as a result of Dr. Somody's treatment.

Similarly, my daughter has had lower back pain for many years, which had dramatic improvement as a result of Dr. Somody's treatment.

She had low back soreness often, especially at night or when she was resting.

That disappeared very quickly as a result of the first Bowen therapy session.

This shift seemed to stick, too - she hasn't needed any more treatment in almost a year, and now barely even mentions her back.

Her stomach pain - it seemed that she had a low-level of parasites that were really good at hiding from her immune system.

Something about the treatment - the mind-body connection, perhaps, or the homeopathics, Bowen [therapy] sessions, dietary counselling, or something else - all I know is that she doesn't even mention her stomach now, and hasn't since the first session.

It's more difficult to judge the effect of the treatment on her anaphylactic allergies, as we've been trying to avoid her biggest anaphylactic triggers.

However, whatever the reason, she hasn't any anaphylatic attacks in the year since she began Dr. Somody's treatment.

Her dyslexia's also dramatically improved to where it could be considered cured, or at least so small that it barely interferes with her life.

Dr. Somody has been both professional and respectful in his care of both my daughter and myself.

I have great regard for Dr. Somody, and for the health results he has achieved in attending to both myself and my daughter.

Catherine Matthews, West Vancouver, 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

Hannah is doing REALLY well - straighter then I have seen her in a while - NO spasms - and even her arm is better!!

She has been using ONLY homeopathy and Bowen to battle a crippling disease, Torsion Dystonia.

Her response has been baffling to neurologists and traditional doctors who are amazed and astounded at her ability to walk, run and carry on normally in life.

Andy's assessment and ability to relate to my teenage daughter were wonderful and her reaction to the remedies and treatment has been so positive.

Hannah Schell, Ottawa, Ontario

Thanks Andy!

I'm more energized and alive than I was even before the beginning of the Addisons.

Aside from the minor, pretty-much negligible flare-up now and again, my eyes, hands and joints aren't inflammed and swollen anymore either.

I don't know how, since I didn't even tell you about it , but I can't remember when I last noticed the warts on the bottom of my feet.

They've become that much less painful and inflammed.

Carlos D., Las Vegas, Nevada

Thank goodness for the bowen therapy!

I was worried I'd lose my leg because it was swollen and numb and sometimes painful to the touch.

All that changed after the bowen therapy.

The homeopathic remedy, and maybe the mental-emotional work, seemed to help too.

Actually, they must've helped, since I had a lot of other things get better too.

Like, I was concerned about my weight before, but I've lost 12 pounds in the past 4 months.

Even though that's not that much, I think I must've more muscle mass now, since people often comment on how much different I look.

Jen L., Burnaby (South Burnaby), BC

My daughter had about 6 ear infections in under a year, and was constantly uncomfortable and crying.

Your homeopathic remedy flipped some kind of switch inside her - she was happier almost instantly!

She only had one more infection over the next six months, and hasn't had another in the past year.

Your treatment also really gentle - we'll definitely be coming back to you for our youngest soon!

Brooke T, Delta (Tsawwassen), BC

Pages